The study examined incidence of burnout syndrome, psychopathology, and job satisfaction in bone marrow transplant nurses, in relation to existence of an informal psychosocial support programme for staff needs. Forty nurses participated in the study completing four standardised measures related to burnout, anxiety, depression, satisfaction with aspects of their job, and social support. Results indicated that burnout among these nurses was low, and high personal accomplishment from working with marrow transplant patients was the response of the majority. Job satisfaction was also found to be high, with outpatient nurses scoring significantly higher than inpatient nurses in most aspects of job satisfaction. One out of four subjects presented with the psychic manifestations of the anxiety neurosis, suggesting the stressfullness of the marrow transplant environment, which requires a high degree of responsibility and advanced nursing skills. Social support was not found to influence burnout, psychopathology, or job satisfaction. Presence of depression, low personal accomplishment, and dissatisfaction with pay were the variables predicting high emotional exhaustion, one of the main components of burnout. These results were suggestive of less burned out and more satisfied nurses compared to marrow transplant nurses working in environments with no formal or informal staff support programmes. This highlights the need for development of support services for the nursing staff, allowing them to ventilate their feelings, discuss issues of concern to them and seek professional support where necessary.
Alexander Molassiotis is Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool, U.K., and at the University of Malta, G'Mangia, Malta.
Mel Haberman is Assistant Staff Scientist and Nursing Research Consultant at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Alexander Molassiotis, Lecturer in Nursing, University of Malta, Institute of Health Care, G'Mangia, MSD 07, Malta.