Nurse practice environment, workload, burnout, job outcomes, and quality of care in psychiatric hospitals: a structural equation model approach

Authors

  • Peter Van Bogaert MA PhD RN,

    Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Division of Nursing and Midwifery Science, Antwerp University, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk, Belgium
    2. Department of Nursing, Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium
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  • Sean Clarke PhD RN FAAN,

    Professor
    1. Royal Bank of Canada Chair in Cardiovascular Nursing Research, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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  • Riet Willems MS RN,

    Clinical Nurse Specialist
    1. Public Psychiatric Hospital Geel, Geel, Belgium
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  • Mieke Mondelaers MS RN

    Director of Nursing
    1. Division of Nursing and Midwifery Science, Antwerp University, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk, Belgium
    2. Public Psychiatric Hospital Geel, Geel, Belgium
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Abstract

Aim

To study the relationships between nurse practice environment, workload, burnout, job outcomes and nurse-reported quality of care in psychiatric hospital staff.

Background

Nurses' practice environments in general hospitals have been extensively investigated. Potential variations across practice settings, for instance in psychiatric hospitals, have been much less studied.

Design

A cross-sectional design with a survey.

Method

A structural equation model previously tested in acute hospitals was evaluated using survey data from a sample of 357 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and non-registered caregivers from two psychiatric hospitals in Belgium between December 2010–April 2011. The model included paths between practice environment dimensions and outcome variables, with burnout in a mediating position. A workload measure was also tested as a potential mediator between the practice environment and outcome variables.

Results

An improved model, slightly modified from the one validated earlier in samples of acute care nurses, was confirmed. This model explained 50% and 38% of the variance in job outcomes and nurse-reported quality of care respectively. In addition, workload was found to play a mediating role in accounting for job outcomes and significantly improved a model that ultimately explained 60% of the variance in these variables.

Conclusion

In psychiatric hospitals as in general hospitals, nurse–physician relationship and other organizational dimensions such as nursing and hospital management were closely associated with perceptions of workload and with burnout and job satisfaction, turnover intentions, and nurse-reported quality of care. Mechanisms linking key variables and differences across settings in these relationships merit attention by managers and researchers.

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