Taking the pulse of Texas nursing facility social workers: a study of the attitudes of Texas nursing facility social workers and their work



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Taking the Pulse of Texas Nursing Facility Social Workers: A Study of the Attitudes of Texas Nursing Facility Social Workers About Their Work is a study of burnout among social workers in Texas nursing facility social workers. Burnout is measured using the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Factors potentially related to burnout are grouped in the categories of the Courage and Williams model: characteristics of the social worker, characteristics of the nursing facility as an employer, characteristics of nursing facility residents as clients. A measure of the stigma associated with nursing facilities is added to the model as a fourth category. Stigma is shown to be a factor in burnout for nursing facility social workers. All Texas nursing facilities were included in the survey mailing. Of the 302 respondents, 20.5% scored in the high category for emotional exhaustion burnout, 10.4% scored in the high category for depersonalization burnout, and 5.5% scored in the high category for personal accomplishment burnout. Characteristics of the social worker that influence burnout are age, ethnicity, time employed, and Duttweiler Internal Control Index. Burnout decreases with age. Hispanic social workers have lower levels of burnout than other ethnic groups, and African American social workers have higher levels of burnout than other ethnic groups. Burnout increases as time employed increases. Characteristics of the work environment that influence burnout are spending time with clients, understanding state requirements, adequacy of staffing in the facility, and job structure. Burnout is influenced by the social worker’s perception of the residents’ ability to cope. Two scales measuring the perception of nursing facility stigma, professional respect scale and misunderstood scale, show a relationship to burnout. The Courage and Williams model of factors related to burnout was supported in that at least one variable from each category was related to burnout. The respondents were predominantly Caucasian females with a mean age of 41.1 years. Responses were received from a sample that proportionally matched Texas facilities in ownership and size.