University Of Tasmania
whole_HeronBeverleyIrene1997_thesis.pdf (4.6 MB)

Beyond burnout

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posted on 2023-05-26, 18:31 authored by Heron, BI
This thesis explores the socio-cultural and political construction of the concept of burnout and the effects of this on nurses. The way burnout is conceptualised affects how it is dealt with, and how those suffering burnout are treated. In spite of identifying a number of work related stressors nurses have not been able to address the work related issues that cause burnout. This is related to the nature of nursing. Nursing is an oral culture and involves body care and is seen as women's work and dirty work. This socio-cultural aspect of nursing serves to subordinate nursing to medicine in the occupational division of labour, and in the treatment of burnout. Economic conditions in the workplace are such that workers are expected to do more with fewer resources. This has impacted on nurses' well-being. Nurses suffering from the effects of prolonged workplace stresses as a result of economic rationalist management are subjected to medical dominance when seeking to address their symptoms. Nursing subordination is on the level of knowledge, gender and power. In the role of client the symptoms of work related stress are re-articulated as personal problems requiting a medical solution. In this study, discourse analysis of a text on burnout is used to illustrate the underlying structure, prooess and powerful interest groups involved in the treatment of burnout. Through discourse analysis and critique, how burnout is constructed, managed and treated, and how this process serves to dis-empower nurses, is exposed. As a result of the critique, strategies to empower nurses have been suggested. These strategies relate to peer support, addressing workplace problems, adopting a new perspective and political action. The adoption of these strategies may enable nurses to move the debate on burnout beyond the present boundaries and address the workplace issues that impact on nurses' well-being.


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Copyright 1996 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MN)--University of Tasmania, 1997. Includes bibliographical references

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