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Mental Health: Nursing: research points to a feeling of lack of recognition and burnout among professionals

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A survey carried out by the Instituto Qualisa de Gestão (IQG) showed that feelings of mental overload, lack of recognition and fatigue increased among nursing professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 1,484 employees from six public and private health institutions in Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso do Sul and Amazonas were interviewed between December 2020 and June 2021.

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The survey reveals that the feeling of low professional achievement reaches 69.1% of respondents. This situation, added to the pressure of the activity, also increases the risk of burnout related to emotional exhaustion and depersonalization in the work environment, aspects that affect around 18% of professionals. Depersonalization is a type of mental disorder that generates a feeling of disconnection between the body and thoughts.

The objective of the study was to demonstrate the perceptions of the professional practice environment of nurses, technicians and nursing assistants through the application of the professional practice environment survey (Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index – PES/NWI) and the Maslash Burnout Inventory (MBI) as well as comparing them.

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The data obtained resulted in the text “Analysis of the work environment and burnout among nurses, technicians and nursing assistants in Brazilian institutions”, authored by the IQG evaluators, Lucianna Reis Novaes, Michel Mattos de Barros and Fabrício dos Santos Cirino. The paper was published in the Asploro Journal of Biomedical and Clinical Case Reports.

“Any mistake in the health area can be traumatic or irreversible, not only for the patient but for the health professional. All this level of emotional exhaustion of nursing professionals increases an increasing concern with the mental illness of workers”, he says. Mara Machado, CEO and founding partner of IQG.

The research identified contexts of frequent appearance of fear, insecurity, anxiety, fear of contamination and new ways of working, leading to an increase in the probability of errors in care.

“The nursing environment in the country is full of characteristics that negatively affect work, such as high turnover, absenteeism, double employment, high workload, occupational risks, high mental burden and suffering due to the death of patients”, notes Machado.

To face the scenario of wear and tear for professionals, the CEO of IQG highlights the need for important changes in the work environment, which include a better division of definitions on the availability of resources, in addition to the assertiveness of leaders in defining the deliverables that the team needs to do, focused on quality and safety in care.

“As in any other profession, recognition and professional development are essential measures to involve professionals in these deliveries. It is essential to understand, in the face of an epidemiological crisis, the importance of the role of nursing, not only for greater recognition of the category , but to place its importance at the heart of the management of health services”, he points out.

Currently, professionals in the area fight for the salary floor of the category. The implementation of the national nursing floor was suspended across the country after a decision by the STF (Supreme Federal Court). By 7 votes to 4, the majority of ministers endorsed an injunction by Luís Roberto Barroso in favor of the suspension until information about the economic impact of the measure is presented.

Approved in July and enacted in August, law 14,434/2022 set a minimum wage floor of R$4,750 for nurses. Nursing technicians must receive 70% of this amount (R$ 3,325), and nursing assistants and midwives, 50% (R$ 2,375).

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