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Hospital Restructuring and Burnout

Author: ESTHER R. GREENGLASS and RONALD J. BURKE
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 25 No. 1

Increasingly, organizations are experiencing changes as a result of
extensive downsizing, restructuring, and merging. In Canada, govern-
ment-sponsored medicine has been affected as hospitals have merged
or closed, reducing essential medical services and resulting in extensive
job loss for hospital workers, particularly nurses. Hospital restructuring
has also resulted in greater stress and job insecurity in nurses. The
escalation of stressors has created burnout in nurses. This study
examines predictors of burnout in nurses experiencing hospital restruc-
turing using the MBI-General Survey which yields scores on three
scales: Emotional exhaustion, Cynicism, and Professional efficacy.
Multiple regressions were conducted where each burnout scale was the
criterion and stressors (e.g., amount of work, use of generic workers to
do nurses’ work), restructuring effects, social support, and individual
resources (e.g., control coping, self-efficacy, prior organizational com-
mitment) were predictors. There were differences in the amount of
variance accounted for in the burnout components by stressors and
resources. Stressors contributed most to emotional exhaustion and least
to professional efficacy. Individual resources were more likely to
contribute to professional efficacy and least to emotional exhaustion.
Stressors and resources accounted for approximately equal amounts of
variance in cynicism. Three conclusions were drawn. First, present
findings parallel others by showing that individual coping patterns con-
tribute to professional efficacy. Second, emotional exhaustion was
found to be the prototype of stress. Third, prior organizational commit-
ment, self-efficacy, and control coping resulted in lower burnout.

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