Targeting Burnout and Emotional State in Nurses within a Mental Health Care Setting: A Quasi-Experimental Study

  • Josianne Scerri Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Malta
  • Alexei Sammut Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Malta
  • Margaret Mangion University of Malta, Malta
  • Michael Galea Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Malta
  • Paulann Grech
  • Sarah Cilia Vincenti Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Malta
  • Liberato Camilleri Faculty of Science, University of Malta, Malta
Keywords: critical thinking, nursing, burnout, depression, stress, anxiety, quasi-experimental design


Nurse burnout is a widespread phenomenon that may impact their quality of life, work efficacy and organisational commitment. Hence, the need for interventions that enhance nurse well-being, and which target the needs and concerns of professionals working in a complex and dynamic context. The aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness of an intensive intervention for nurses providing care to persons with mental illnesses. A quasi-experimental study was conducted with 120 nurses. Sixty-eight nurses received the intervention, and fifty- two nurses were in the control group. The intervention incorporated sessions on: (i) critical and creative thinking; (ii) mindfulness; (iii) legal issues; (iv) documentation and (v) expressive arts. Participants completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the DASS-21 at pre- and post- test. The single day intervention was repeated for 4 consecutive times. Data were analysed using the Pearson’s chi square test, Wilcoxon sign test, Mann–Whitney U test, Spearman’s rank order correlation and a general linear model. Significant decreases in burnout-depersonalisation, stress and anxiety were identified post intervention. Stress, personal accomplishment (burnout), gender and age-group were predictors of the burnout domain- depersonalisation. Interventions incorporating critical and creative thinking and legal issues in addition to cognitive and expressive art sessions, are efficacious in reducing burnout, anxiety, and stress in nurses.


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