The relationship between nurses’ clinical competence and burnout in neonatal intensive care units

Fatemehzahra Soroush, Ali Zargham-Boroujeni, Mahboobeh Namnabati


Background: Nurses’ clinical competency plays an important role in the care of preterm infants. On the other hand, burnout is one of the most important factors in reducing the nurses’ efficiency. With regard to the importance of the role of nurses, and the vulnerability of the infants, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between nurses’ burnout and clinical competency in NICUs.

Materials and Methods: The descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with the participation of 86 nurses working in the NICUs of hospitals in Isfahan, Iran. Census sampling method was used in the NICUs of educational hospitals in 2014. Data were collected by a questionnaire including demographic characteristics, Patricia clinical competency, and Maslach burnout scales. Data
were analyzed by the statistical tests of independent t-test and Pearson correlations test with the significance level of á < 0.05.

Results: Six dimensions of clinical competency and three dimensions of nurses’ burnout were assessed at three levels (weak, moderate, and strong levels). Statistical tests showed that clinical competency was at a moderate level in all fields. Of the dimensions of nurses’ burnout, emotional exhaustion was moderate, depersonalization was weak, and personal performance was strong. The results showed that nurses` burnout and clinical competency in the NICUs were at a moderate level and had a significant negative relationship (r = −0.322, P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Results showed that burnout had a negative relationship with competency. Therefore, managers are suggested to improve nurses’ competency and diminish their job burnout through better and more applicable planning.

Key words: Clinical competency, infant, job burnout, NICU, nurses, Iran


Clinical competency; infant; job burnout; NICU; nurses; Iran

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