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Objective: The authors explore levels of occupational stress (burnout) and organizational commitment (intent to stay), their inter-relationships, and their relationships to personal and organizational factors in nurse administrators.


Background: Although the concepts of burnout and turnover have been studied and reported for staff nurses, relatively few such studies exist in relation to nurse administrators.


Methods: Consequently, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, and a personal data sheet were completed by respondents to a mailed survey representing 65.6% of the membership of the state's nurse executive organization and 58.2% of the state's hospitals (N = 78).


Results: Scores indicate that half the respondents experience low levels of burnout whereas a third have high levels of burnout. Commitment scores were high for most nurse executives and were correlated inversely with burnout scale scores (depersonalization, personal accomplishment, emotional exhaustion), with the amount or phase of burnout, and with non-nursing management experience. Those with few opportunities to meet with colleagues scored higher on emotional exhaustion and lower on personal accomplishment scales. Intent to stay (high commitment scores) was related positively to perceived organizational support and to religiosity.


Conclusions: Findings are consistent with those reported in other studies; however, the administrative role may require unique approaches to avoid or correct organizational stress. The role of social support, the determination of organizational/individual fit, and the adaptation of traditional organizational development techniques to the administrative role are discussed and proposed as areas for further study.