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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • burnout;
  • job satisfaction;
  • mental health;
  • nurses;
  • therapeutic optimism

happell b. & koehn s. (2011) Seclusion as a necessary intervention: the relationship between burnout, job satisfaction and therapeutic optimism and justification for the use of seclusion. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(6), 1222–1231.

Abstract

Aims.  This paper is a report of the study of nurses’ attitudes to the use of seclusion. More specifically, the aim was to address the relationship between burnout, job satisfaction and therapeutic optimism and justification of the use of seclusion.

Background.  Research findings demonstrate that nurses continue to view seclusion as a necessary intervention. Factors that might be associated with attitudes have not been examined.

Methods.  Questionnaires were distributed to nurses employed in inpatient units across eight mental health services in Queensland in 2008. Heyman Attitudes to Seclusion Survey, Elsom Therapeutic Optimism Scale, Maslach’s Burnout Inventory and Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaires were completed (N = 123). Data analysis involved descriptive statistics and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients.

Results.  Most participants considered certain behaviours particularly those involving harm to self, others or to property as appropriate reasons for the use of seclusion and were consistent with their perceptions of the likely practice on their unit. An association was found between therapeutic optimism and emotional exhaustion (burnout) and justifications for the use of seclusion. Participants with higher optimism scores and lower scores for emotional exhaustion were significantly less likely to support the use of seclusion in specific situations.

Conclusions.  The relationship between therapeutic optimism and emotional exhaustion gives new information that might influence strategies and approaches taken with the aim of reducing seclusion use. Further research is warranted to explore these relationships and their implications.