McKnight’s had a great article on a new study showing that burnout, frustration, and cynicism are the top reasons for adminstrator turnover in the nursing home industry. Nursing home administrators with high levels of cynicism related to a feeling of professional burnout are most likely to leave their job, suggests new research from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Cynicism in this context is characterized as a state of disengagement or depersonalization, in which a professional comes to see a client as an “impersonal object” without “unique characteristics,” according to Daley. Work stress, excessive interpersonal interactions and excessive workloads all have been linked by researchers to higher levels of cynicism, she noted.

The findings are the doctoral thesis of former nursing home administrator Christina Daley, Ph.D., NHA.  She analyzed information to determine the administrators’ turnover intention and level of burnout, using a theoretical framework that defined burnout as having three elements: emotional exhaustion, cynicism and professional inefficacy.

“Both emotional exhaustion and cynicism are strong predictors of intentions to turnover in current position and in the NHA profession,” Daley wrote. “However, cynicism is the strongest predictor of the two turnover intentions.”

The importance of emotional exhaustion should not be overlooked. Studies outside the realm of nursing homes that have used this framework have indicated that emotional exhaustion is the “core dimension” of burnout, she noted. Emotional exhaustion — or a feeling of being overwhelmed — can have similar causes, and also can lead to emotional distancing, Daley wrote.

Unsurprisingly, she found that workload manageability was strongly linked to emotional exhaustion, while administrators with a strong sense of community were less likely to be cynical. “The findings suggest the importance of organization executives in supporting NHAs in their mission of caring, as too much focus on the bottom line is alienating,” she wrote.



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