Nurse burnout and patient safety outcomes: nurse safety perception versus reporting behavior

West J Nurs Res. 2008 Aug;30(5):560-77. doi: 10.1177/0193945907311322. Epub 2008 Jan 9.


This article examines the relationship between nurse burnout and patient safety indicators, including both safety perceptions and reporting behavior. Based on the Conservation of Resources model of stress and burnout, it is predicted that burnout will negatively affect both patient safety perceptions and perceived likelihood of reporting events. Nurses from a Veteran's Administration hospital completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory and safety outcomes subset of measures from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Patient Safety Culture measure. After controlling for work-related demographics, multiple regression analysis supported the prediction that burnout was associated with the perception of lower patient safety. Burnout was not associated with event-reporting behavior but was negatively associated with reporting of mistakes that did not lead to adverse events. The findings extend previous research on the relationship between burnout and patient outcomes and offer avenues for future research on how nurse motivation resources are invested in light of their stressful work environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Burnout, Professional / diagnosis
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Facility Environment / organization & administration
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / nursing*
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Midwestern United States
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / organization & administration
  • Personality Inventory
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Management / organization & administration*
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure