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burnout, gerontology, nursing, palliative care, personality, terminal patient



  1. Gomez-Cantorna, Cristina PhD
  2. Clemente, Miguel PhD
  3. Farina-Lopez, Emilio PhD
  4. Estevez-Guerra, Gabriel J. PhD
  5. Gandoy-Crego, Manuel PhD


Burnout syndrome was defined in 1976 by Maslach and Jackson, and there is evidence of its high impact on nursing personnel. The syndrome manifests most intensely among palliative care unit employees who assist elderly patients, owing to their constant exposure to patient deaths. The aim of this study is to determine whether palliative care unit nursing staff who treat terminal gerontology patients and who have certain personality traits are more susceptible to occupational stress. The study also determines the personality type that most significantly reduced vulnerability to occupational stress. Two questionnaires, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and Big Five Inventory, were applied to 162 nursing professionals working in Spain. The most relevant study findings are the following: Extroverted nurses tend to not express stress; the more sociable the caregiver is, the greater the degree of emotional fatigue he/she experiences; nurses who exhibit a higher degree of neuroticism show an average degree of emotional fatigue; and caregivers who exhibit high openness to change have low stress levels while experiencing a strong sense of success. From these results, an ideal personality profile for selecting palliative care unit nursing staff was developed.