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Burnout, Professional, Hospital Administration, Humans, Personnel Staffing and Scheduling, Personnel Turnover, Quality of Health Care, Workload


European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme.


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PURPOSE: Quality of care and health professional burnout are important issues in their own right, however, relatively few studies have examined both. The purpose of this paper is to explore quality of care and health professional burnout in hospital settings.

DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: The paper is a narrative literature review of quality of care and health professional burnout in hospital settings published in peer-reviewed journals between January 2000 and March 2013. Papers were identified via a search of PsychInfo, PubMed, Embase and CINNAHL electronic databases. In total, 30 papers which measured and/or discussed both quality of care and health professional burnout were identified.

FINDINGS: The paper provides insight into the key health workforce-planning issues, specifically staffing levels and workloads, which impact upon health professional burnout and quality of care. The evidence from the review literature suggests that health professionals face heavier and increasingly complex workloads, even when staffing levels and/or patient-staff ratios remain unchanged.

ORIGINALITY/VALUE: The narrative literature review suggests that weak retention rates, high turnover, heavy workloads, low staffing levels and/or staffing shortages conspire to create a difficult working environment for health professionals, one in which they may struggle to provide high-quality care and which may also contribute to health professional burnout. The review demonstrates that health workforce planning concerns, such as these, impact on health professional burnout and on the ability of health professionals to deliver quality care. The review also demonstrates that most of the published papers published between 2000 and 2013 addressing health professional burnout and quality of care were nursing focused.




Humphries N, Morgan K, Conry MC, McGowan Y, Montgomery A, McGee H. Quality of care and health professional burnout: narrative literature review. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance. 2014;27(4):293-307.

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