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Organizational conditions that influence work engagement and burnout: A qualitative study of mental health workers.

Rollins AL, Eliacin J, Russ-Jara AL, Monroe-Devita M, Wasmuth S, Flanagan ME, Morse GA, Leiter M, Salyers MP. Organizational conditions that influence work engagement and burnout: A qualitative study of mental health workers. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. 2021 Sep 1; 44(3):229-237.

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Clinician burnout in healthcare is extensive and of growing concern. In mental health and rehabilitation settings, research on interventions to improve burnout and work engagement is limited and rarely addresses organizational drivers of burnout. This study sought to elaborate on the organizational influence of burnout and work engagement in mental health. We randomly selected 40 mental health clinicians and managers who were participating in a burnout intervention and conducted semi-structured interviews to understand their views of organizational conditions impacting burnout and work engagement. Data were analyzed using a thematic analytical approach. Analyses yielded three major themes where organizational contexts might reduce burnout and increase work engagement: (a) a work culture that prioritizes person-centered care over productivity and other performance metrics, (b) robust management skills and practices to overcome bureaucracy, and (c) opportunities for employee professional development and self-care. Participants also referenced three levels of the organizational context that they believed influenced burnout and work engagement: front-line supervisors and program managers, organizational executive leadership, and the larger health system. Findings point to several possible targets of intervention at various organizational levels that could guide the field toward more effective ways to reduce burnout and improve work engagement. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

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