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Keywords:

  • HIV/AIDS;
  • stress;
  • burnout;
  • community nurses;
  • supervision and support;
  • nursing

Burnout and AIDS case-related factors in HIV community Clinical Nurse Specialists in the North of England¶Burnout in Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) care nursing is well described in the literature from a hospital based perspective. No studies into the effects of AIDS care and burnout have been carried out within the community setting. A two-stage, mixed method study was carried out. In Stage one 30 Clinical Nurse Specialists in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS from the North of England completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the AIDS Impact Scale. For Stage two five practitioners were selected randomly for semi-structured interview. Burnout morbidity was significant. Sixty-six per cent of informants scored as moderate or high burnout cases on the emotional Exhaustion and Personal Accomplishment subscales of the MBI. Only three per cent scored as cases on the depersonalization subscale. Links between the close involvement of practitioners with clients, death of clients, isolation, stigma and discrimination and the availability of support and supervision were identified as significant factors in AIDS care within this population that contributed to stress and burnout. Paradoxically, informants found the close relationships with clients, the autonomy of isolation and the exclusive nature of AIDS care positive aspects of their practice. The role of support and supervision in facilitating the continuance of a close empathic and therapeutic relationship and the prevention of an over-involved, isolated and stressful relationship is proposed as a way forward.