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In this article, the author discusses a a study exploring the novel concept that nurses’ traumatic perinatal histories may be associated with their burnout.
The etiology of NICU nurse burnout focuses primarily on job-related factors. Burnout resulting from countertransference stress between nurses and patients is unexplored. This study explored the novel concept that nurses’ traumatic perinatal histories may be associated with their burnout. Two hundred eighty-three NICU nurses completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory and a Birth History Survey. Multiple regression analyses determined which demographic and birth history variables were predictive of burnout. Younger age (p < .001), history of NICU hospitalization (p < .01), heelsticks (p < .05), and precipitous delivery (p < .05) were significant predictors of burnout. The concept that NICU nurses are vulnerable to countertransference stress stemming from traumatic early experiences received some support. Future longitudinal research is warranted.
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