Theoretical Frameworks in Research

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burnout
23.11.2022
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Burnout, especially in nurses and other healthcare workers, has been in existence for a long. The condition has adversely affected the ability of these workers to discharge their duties appropriately. Due to its negative impacts, many pieces of research and studies have been carried out with the core objective of establishing its causes, effects, and possible solutions for its mitigation. As a result, many scholars have formulated numerous theories, and some of them share a common theme.

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Theories Cited by Others

Theories are a very significant part of any research. Majorly, the majority of these theories are used to explain certain concepts that could otherwise be difficult. Accordingly, a theory is a broad term that refers to a collection of variables or concepts that are closely related to one another (Connelly, 2014). Other popular terms that can be used to give the same meaning include “models”, “conceptual frameworks”, and “theoretical frameworks” (Connelly, 2014). Both conceptual and theoretical frameworks constitute a significant part of the research (Green, 2014). Notably, theories may contain different themes. However, some may contain a common or uniform theme.

Many theories have been formulated about burnout, as it has already been indicated herein. One of these theories postulates that chronic burnout is a key factor moderating the functioning of human beings on a daily basis (Bakker & Costa, 2014). The same theory goes further and states that the condition not only strengthens self-undermining but also contributes to what is termed as loss cycle of the demands by jobs. Moreover, it hinders the ability to gain and craft at workplace (Bakker & Costa, 2014). Generally, the theories point out to the fact that burnout is a crucial concern to any healthcare worker, as it affects their ability to work accordingly. Since the competence of workers is at stake, burnout should be appropriately tackled, and this should be a responsibility of everyone.

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Other scholars came up with a conceptual model of burnout. The proposed model argues that the three typical phases of burnout occur in a subsequent manner, namely one after the other (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). According to the study, the sequential step begins with exhaustion, which is followed by adverse reactions and detachment from a job, a situation that can also be referred to as cynicism or depersonalization (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). According to this conceptual model, exhaustion acts as a precursor to other conditions, and thus, its control would result in the prevention of other subsequent conditions. Fatigue is caused by overloads and very high demand for work (Maslach &Leiter, 2016). By a keen evaluation, work can be adequately distributed to prevent overloading and exhaustion.

The areas of work life, abbreviated as AW, and the conservation of resources (COR) models have also been used as far as the issue of burnout is concerned. The COR concept is based on the assumption that burnout is a result of constant threats offered to the existing resources (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). Arguably, workers try as much as they can to economically use any resource whose value is believed to be threatened (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). The model explicitly implies that workers are likely to experience burnout whenever the threatened resources have been exhausted. On the other hand, AW postulates that several job stressors concerning job mismatches cause burnout (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). The condition can be categorized into divisions that include reward, values, and community (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). Of all these factors, the worst case scenario is likely to occur whenever a mismatch between job and employee occurs (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). The condition may lead to chronic burnout amongst nurses, and this may lower the quality of services offered to patients.

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Common Themes

Based on the themes that have been discussed herein, it is crystal clear that some themes exist in more than one theory, concept, or model. The theories agree with the fact that burnout has adverse impacts on both the workers and people to be attended to. In this case, both the nurses and patients are negatively affected. While nurses are likely to lose morale at their work, the patients are likely to receive poor services, and this may worsen the situation. The theories also agree that the working environment is a critical factor that influences burnout.

Specifically, the COR and AW models are based on the assumption that one’s working condition, such as tools of work, threats, resources, and motivation, are likely to either encourage or discourage the occurrence of burnout. Evidently, the theme of job exhaustion and stress is also common in these theories.

Conclusion

Burnout is very common in many workplaces. In nurses, the condition affects the ability of the nurses to offer the best services to the patients, and this may worsen their health conditions. Different scholars have come up with various theories or concepts to relate some variables as far as burnout is concerned. Some of these theories, which have also been discussed herein, include the areas of work and the conservation of resources models. Moreover, some of these theories have common themes like that exhaustion and the impacts of the working environment.

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