New Graduate Burnout: The Impact of Professional Practice Environment,Workplace Civility, and Empowerment

Heather K. Spence Laschinger; Joan Finegan; Piotr Wilk


Nurs Econ. 2009;27(6):377-383. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


New graduates face many challenges as they begin their nursing careers (Beecroft, Dorey, & Wenten, 2008; Duchscher, 2001; Jasper, 1996). Transitioning from student status to the full professional role requires gaining clinical expertise and self-efficacy for practice within a work environment that supports both professional practice and individual development. Nurses who are empowered to provide care according to professional nursing standards experience greater satisfaction with their work (Havens & Aiken, 1999; Sabiston & Laschinger, 1995), and are less likely to leave their jobs (Nedd, 2006). Work environments that support professional nursing practice also result in more positive outcomes for patients (Aiken, Smith, & Lake, 1994; Tourangeau, Gioavannetti, Tu, & Wood, 2002). However, current nursing work environments with their heavy workloads are stressful for even the most seasoned nurses who are reporting high levels of burnout and absenteeism (Greco, Laschinger, & Wong, 2006; Laschinger, Almost, Purdy, & Kim, 2004). Recent studies of new graduates are particularly disturbing. Cho, Laschinger, and Wong (2006) found that 66% of new graduates were experiencing severe burnout and that burnout was associated with negative workplace conditions. Beecroft et al. (2008) found that 30% of new graduates in their study had high turnover intentions, predominantly related to disempowering work environments. Bowles and Candela (2005) reported an actual turnover rate of 30% in the first year and 57% after 2 years. These results are alarming since the future of professional nursing depends on finding ways to create high-quality work environments that retain newcomers to the profession.


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