OBJECTIVE: To identify predictors of burnout in pediatric nurses and to compare the incidence of burnout, job stress, anxiety and perceived social support in acute and nonacute care pediatric nurses. DESIGN: Prospective correlational-descriptive methodology was used to predict high, moderate or low burnout from length of work experience, perceived work stress and social support and anxiety. SUBJECTS AND SETTING: Registered nurses (n = 121) employed full-time in neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and pediatric intermediate care units. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Measures of job stress, anxiety, experience, social support and burnout were compared in acute and nonacute care pediatric nurses. The overall mean incidence of burnout was in a moderate range for both acute and nonacute care pediatric nurses for the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization subscales and in the high range of personal accomplishment subscales of the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Analysis of variance revealed no differences between groups. However, when nurses were grouped by high, moderate and low burnout scores, chi-square analysis revealed significant differences. More acute care nurses reported high burnout and more nonacute care nurses reported low burnout. Discriminant function analysis revealed that job stress was the strongest significant predictor of burnout, followed by state anxiety, coworker support, trait anxiety and experience on the unit. CONCLUSIONS: Even though high burnout levels are more frequent in acute care pediatric nurses, burnout is a problem in both acute and nonacute care pediatric nurses. The pattern of results suggests that efforts directed toward reducing anxiety and job stress and increasing coworker support, particularly for less experienced nurses, might reduce burnout.

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