Nurse burnout is a mental, physical and emotional state that occurs because of chronic overwork. It might also occur due to continued lack of support and fulfillment with a job. Nursing working environment exposes the professionals to many stressful issues that might lead to burnout. Everyone in nursing can get burnout although there are those who are more risk due to their personality and working environment. It is a condition that affects the mental and emotional wellness to the point of changing the quality of life. Such a person is not in the appropriate state to offer quality care to patients.

Patient infection rates increase due to nurse burnout because they will be getting care from someone who does not have complete capability to offer the kind of care that a professional should provide.


Overwhelming Nurse Burnout symptomsBurnout causes exhaustion, low sense of accomplishment and job-related cynicism. It might even develop to clinical depression if untreated because unaddressed problems accumulate over time.

These burnout symptoms make it curtail that ability of nurses to interact well with patients, notice the risk of infection or offer standard care that helps patients to heal as well as preventing infections.

1.IrritabilityIrritability is a frequent human emotion and is a sign of burnout when excessive or chronic. Irritability occurs because a nurse is frustrated by the work and might reduce the input at work to the extent of negligence that exposes patients to a risk of infection.

2.Reluctance and intoleranceBurnout can make nurses to feel reluctant about doing some things and intolerant to changes that help to prevent patient infections. Reluctance to work also interferes with professional efficacy meaning that the nurse offers a raw deal to patient care.

3.Calling in sick frequentlyNurses with severe burnout and are unaware of self-care methods are likely to feel sick and take more off days to recover. Nurses who suffer burnout because of staffing shortage will hurt the nurse to patient ration when the call in sick. It will reduce the number of nurses attending to patients. The nurses at work might not be able to provide adequate attention to the patient and can miss things that might cause patient infection.

4.Exhaustion and fatigue

Nurses work for long busy hours, and it is not unusual for professionals to get some fatigue. Constant exhaustion even during the off days is dangerous and is a sign of burnout. Fatigue can be emotional and physical, but both make it difficult for nurses to do their challenging jobs. Exhaustion can cause an inability to focus, confusion and difficulty in making decisions leading to these mistakes that increase the risk of patient infection.

  • Failing to ask for assistance when it is necessary
  • Medication errors by giving the wrong medicine or dosage. Some of the of the nurses are not in the right mental frame due to severe burnout and make a mistake of giving medication to a wrong patient.
  • Failing to communicate critical information that could have assisted in preventing infection or eliminating risks to their peers or physicians.Failing to contact doctors quick enough in an emergency
  • Making charting errors

Nurses with burnout are likely to have impaired memory, attention and functionality that decrease attention to the detail. Nurses with burnout are at more risk of making errors due to diminished cognitive function, vigilance and an increase of safety lapses. Such mistakes place patient at more risk of infection as the nurse is not in the right state to enhance preventive measures.

Burned out nurses are detached from work and unknowingly develop negative attitudes towards the patients. All the factors that are causing fatigue impair the capacity to deal with technically complex and dynamic nature of efficient nursing care.

Nurse fatigue that leads to burnout is dangerous to nurses and even their patients because they will be the recipients of poor quality care even without their knowledge. For example, a nurse who is struggling with burnout can make mistakes when reading a patient’s record and fail to administer medicine that could prevent opportunistic infections that can occur in a patient under treatment for another condition. For instance, a patient with a wound or burns will need to a prescription to prevent infection by bacteria that enters into the body through the damaged skin. A nurse who fails to administer the medication because of distraction by burnout increases patient infection rates.