Practice environment, job satisfaction and burnout of critical care nurses in South Africa

J Nurs Manag. 2012 Jul;20(5):685-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01350.x. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


Aim: To describe the practice environment, job satisfaction and burnout of critical-care nurses (CCNs) in South Africa (SA) and the relationship between these variables.

Background: CCNs are more sensitive to job satisfaction and burnout, and several studies have been published on the relationship between these variables. However, the research that was undertaken did not focus exclusively on the practice environment of CCNs or the context of SA.

Method: The RN4CAST survey was used. A stratified sample of 55 private hospitals and seven national referral hospitals were included in the study. A total of 935 CCNs completed the survey.

Results: The practice environment is positive, except for staffing and resource adequacy, and governance. The greatest job dissatisfaction is experienced with regard to wages, opportunities for advancement and study leave. CCNs have a high degree of burnout.

Conclusion: The high degree of burnout is related to dissatisfaction with wages, opportunities for advancement, study leave and a practice environment with inadequate staffing and resources, and lack of nurse participation in hospital affairs.

Implications for nursing management: Managers should ensure that adequate numbers of CCNs are on the staff allocation and provide opportunities for CCNS to participate in policy and governance of the hospital, while giving attention to good salaries and providing opportunities for advancement and study leave.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Critical Care / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nursing*
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Young Adult