A new look at nurse burnout: the effects of environmental uncertainty and social climate

J Nurs Adm. 2001 Feb;31(2):91-6. doi: 10.1097/00005110-200102000-00009.


As healthcare organizations deal with changes in the external environment, uncertainty in the internal environment is created. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships among environmental uncertainty, social climate, and burnout among staff nurses. Multiple regression analysis was used to explore relationships among study variables. Perceived environmental uncertainty predicted burnout among staff nurses, although there was no significant relationship between burnout and objective measures of unit activity. The social climate of the workplace was negatively associated with burnout. The authors concluded that social networks are important during times of change and uncertainty in the work environment; in other words, a supportive workplace can protect against burnout.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 300 to 499
  • Humans
  • Nurse Administrators
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Conditions
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology*