Burnout and job satisfaction: A comparative study of psychiatric nurses from forensic and a mainstream mental health service

Authors

  • Brenda Happell,

    1. Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice, School of Postgraduate Nursing, The University of Melbourne and
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  • Trish Martin,

    1. Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice, School of Postgraduate Nursing, The University of Melbourne and
    2. Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Jaya Pinikahana

    1. Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice, School of Postgraduate Nursing, The University of Melbourne and
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  • Jaya Pinikahana, BA Hons, MSc, PhD.

  • Brenda Happell, RN, PhD.

  • Trish Martin, RPN, FPN, MN.

Correspondence: Jaya Pinikahana Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice, School of Postgraduate Nursing, The University of Melbourne, 1/723 Swanston Street, Carlton, Vic. 3010, Australia. Email: Jaya@unimelb.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Within the nursing profession stress and burnout are considered to be widely present and problematic. These factors tend to impact negatively on job satisfaction and ultimately affect the retention of nurses. Psychiatric/mental health nursing as a specialty is considered to be a highly stressful environment; however, there is a paucity of research in this area. The current study adopted a survey design to compare forensic psychiatric nurses (n = 51) with psychiatric nurses from a mainstreamed mental health service (n = 78) in relation to burnout and job satisfaction. Forensic nurses displayed lower burnout and higher job satisfaction than their counterparts from the mainstreamed services. These findings are surprising in light of the image of forensic psychiatric nursing as dangerous and unpredictable.

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