Original Research

Improving general health and reducing burnout of nurses in Namibia

Wesley R. Pieters, Letisha Matheus
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 18 | a1138 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v18i0.1138 | © 2020 Wesley R. Pieters, Letisha Matheus | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 November 2018 | Published: 25 May 2020

About the author(s)

Wesley R. Pieters, Department of Human Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
Letisha Matheus, Department of Human Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

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Orientation: Nurses make up 80% of Namibia’s healthcare workforce, and they are considered as the backbone of the industry. Because of the lack of other healthcare providers nurses are exposed to high levels of job stress.

Research purpose: This study investigated how job demands-resources and psychological capital impact general health and burnout of nurses in Oshikoto, Kavango East, Oshana, Omaheke and Khomas regions.

Motivation for the study: Improving the work environment by balancing the relationship between job demands and job resources will result in lower levels of burnout, improved healthcare services, improved employee performance and patient satisfaction.

Research design/approach and method: Using questionnaires, this study investigated the perceptions of nurses within selected regions of Namibia to understand the relationship amongst these variables. The results were analysed using the SPSS (version 24), Pearson’s product–moment correlation and multiple regression analyses.

Main findings: Emotional exhaustion was found to have a positive relationship with general health and workload. Social dysfunction and anxiety and insomnia were found to be significant predictors of cynicism. Anxiety and insomnia, workload and social dysfunction were found to be significant predictors of emotional exhaustion.

Practical/managerial implications: Healthcare sector needs to invest in health education and stress management programmes for nurses on how to take care of their own health and emotional well-being. Providing training and development opportunities and coping strategies increases nurses’ psychological capital, general health, skills and abilities.

Contribution/value-add: This ground breaking study in Namibia will pave the way for future research regarding the health and well-being of health professionals, add to the already existing knowledge within industrial and organisational psychology and guide interventions to improve the health and well-being.


job demands-resources; psychological capital; general health; burnout; industrial psychology


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