Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Nursing)

Schools and Centres

Nursing and Midwifery

First Supervisor

Professor Caroline Bulsara

Second Supervisor

Doctor Cathryn Josif


Occupational stress and burnout are commonly experienced by nurses in the intensive care unit and contribute to poor nursing practice. A study in the United Kingdom revealed that approximately one-third of the intensive care unit team members were at a ‘high risk’ for burnout syndrome. Research suggests that multiple factors contribute to occupational stress and burnout, including nursing shortages, staff turnover, high workloads, workplace conflicts, and bullying. Research suggests that the wellbeing of nurses is imperative in ensuring the best delivery of care to patients, which further results in positive health outcomes for patients.

This study was conducted in a public hospital in Western Australia. This mixed-methods study included quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis with subsequent synthesis of the findings. Surveys were distributed to 200 intensive care unit nurses as the primary data collection method in phase one. The second phase of the study involved seven interviews.

The potential benefits of this research are that the results potentially could become a point of reference for organisations to encourage and facilitate support strategies for intensive care unit nurses at individual and organisational levels to address OS and burnout. Specifically, this study examined the burnout, self-perceived wellbeing and occupational factors related to burnout in the intensive care unit nurses working in one public metropolitan hospital. Improving the working environment for nurses will ultimately improve patient safety, patient outcomes and quality of care and create a positive work environment for nurses in the hospital. intensive care unit is one of the crucial locations of healthcare provision in acute medical cases. The outcome of this research is novel as it had been conducted at a newly established metropolitan hospital with no precedent in the field of occupational stress among intensive care nurses. The current study establishes baseline data in the field of burnout and wellbeing. In light of the current pandemic, wellbeing support groups and counselling need to be implemented to protect nurse wellbeing in intensive care unit. These experiences may serve as a valuable reference while designing psychological health interventions for nurses in future public health emergencies.

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Nursing Commons