Background: Increased stress, burnout, and lack of job satisfaction may contribute to a decline in work performance, absenteeism, and intent to leave one's job or field. We undertook to determine organizational, job-specific, and personal predictors of level of burnout among respiratory care practitioners (RCPs). We also examined the relationships among burnout, job satisfaction (JS), absenteeism, and RCPs' intent to leave their job or the field.
Methods: A pilot-tested assessment instrument was mailed to all active NBRC-credentialed RCPs in Georgia (n = 788). There were 458 usable returns (58% response rate). A random sample of 10% of the nonrespondents (n = 33) was then surveyed by telephone, and the results were compared to those of the mail respondents. Variables were compared to burnout and JS scores by correlational analysis, which was followed by stepwise multiple regression analyses to determine the ability of the independent variables to predict burnout and JS scores when used in combination.
Results: There were no significant differences between respondents and sampled nonrespondents in burnout scores (p = 0.56) or JS (p = 0.24). Prediction of burnout: The coefficient of multiple correlation, R2, indicated that in combination the independent variables accounted for 61% of the variance in burnout scores. The strongest predictor of burnout was job stress. Other job-related predictors of burnout were size of department, satisfaction with work, satisfaction with co-workers and co-worker support, job independence and job control, recognition by nursing, and role clarity. Personal-variable predictors were age, number of previous jobs held, social support, and intent to leave the field of respiratory care. Prediction of job satisfaction: R2 indicated that, in combination, the independent variables accounted for 63% of the variance observed in satisfaction with work, 36% of the variance observed in satisfaction with pay, 36% of the variance in satisfaction with promotions, 62% of the variance in satisfaction with supervision, and 48% of the variance in satisfaction with co-workers. Predictors of work-satisfaction level were recognition by physicians and nursing, age, burn-out level, absenteeism, and intent to leave the field. Predictors of level of satisfaction with pay were actual salary, job independence, organizational climate, ease of obtaining time off, job stress, absenteeism, intent to leave the field, and number of dependent children. Predictors of level of satisfaction with promotions were recognition by nursing, participation in decision making, job stress, intent to leave the field, past turnover rates, and absenteeism. Predictors of level of satisfaction with supervision included supervisor support, role clarity, independence, and ease of obtaining time off. The strongest predictor of level of satisfaction with co-workers was co-worker support. As overall level of JS increased, level of burnout decreased significantly (r = -0.59, p less than 0.001). As burnout level increased, increases occurred in absenteeism (r = 0.22, p less than 0.001), intent to leave the job (r = 0.48, p less than 0.001), and intent to leave the field (r = 0.51, p less than 0.001).
Conclusions: Reduced job stress, increased job independence and job control, improved role clarity, and higher levels of JS were all associated with lower levels of burnout. Managerial attention to these factors may improve patient care and reduce absenteeism and turnover among RCPs.