Burnout Impacts Transplant Nurses, Says Henry Ford Hospital Study

Newswise | Progress in Transplantation

Newswise — DETROIT – More than half of nurses who work with organ transplant patients in the United States experience high levels of emotional exhaustion, a primary sign of burnout, according to a study published by researchers at Henry Ford Hospital.

In addition, 52% of the nurses surveyed reported feeling low levels of personal accomplishment in their life-saving work, according to findings published recently in “Progress in Transplantation,” a journal of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Senior staff psychologist Michelle Jesse, Ph.D., led the Henry Ford Transplant Institute study with liver transplant surgeon Marwan Abouljoud, M.D.; senior staff psychologist Anne Eshelman, Ph.D.; and registered nurse and Transplant Institute Administration Manager Kathleen Hogan.

“At the end of the day, the nurses spend the most time with the patients and wear all the hats in a health system,” says Dr. Jesse. “Plus, transplant nurses work really hard trying to get their patients listed to get a transplant, they get to know the family and sometimes it doesn’t work out. And that’s really tough. They’re just an incredible group.”

Despite the difficulties, only 16% of transplant nurses said they try to emotionally distance themselves from their patients. A common reaction by those feeling overwhelmed in stressful situations, distancing in the nursing profession can be misconstrued as indifference to patients, Jesse explains. Continue reading