Gina M. Cook

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




This quantitative descriptive study was undertaken to examine burnout and hopelessness in a sample of nurses working on Midwest co mmunity psychiatric hospital units. The literature identifies nursing as a stressful occupation; however, a very limited number of studies have examined stress in psychiatric nursing. In spite of the limited research to date, there is evidence in the literature to suggest a relationship between burnout and hopelessness in the nursing profession. The lack of consensus in the literature creates a difficulty in defining burnout; however, essential elements of burnout are consistent and clear throughout the nursing literature, including a sense of hopelessness.

Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses (n = 13) who work on Midwest community psychiatric hospital units in an inpatient setting were surveyed to determine burnout indicators and the emergence of hopelessness. The: nurses were administered the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS), Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS), and a demographic tool developed for this study. Correlational and descriptive statistics were utilized for data analysis.

The findings of this study did not support a causal relationship among burnout and hopelessness. This study, carried out on a small sample representing one group of nurses, concluded that psychiatric mental health nurses showed some significant indicators for burnout related to the variables that were examined. The study findings supported that a higher degree of hopelessness correlated with a lower degree of Personal Accomplishment. The study findings further identified that burnout, as measured by the MBI-HSS, was a reliable indicator of burnout in this study.