Job Stressors and Burnout among Immigrant Nurses Caring for the Elderly in the United States of America: The Role of Working Environment Conditions

  • Martha Allensworth Blanchfield


As the US wrestles with immigrant policy and caring for an aging population, data on immigrants’ role as health care and long-term care workers can inform both debates. Previous studies have examined immigrants’ role as health care and direct care workers (nursing, home health, and personal care aides) but not that of immigrants hired by private households or nonmedical facilities such as senior housing to assist elderly and disabled people or unauthorized immigrants’ role in providing these services. The US elderly population grows, health care workforce shortages (which already limit care) are expected to increase in the coming decades. The Institute of Medicine projects that 3.5 million additional health care workers will be needed by 2030. Nurse burnout is a widespread phenomenon characterized by a reduction in nurses’ energy that manifests in emotional exhaustion, lack of motivation, and feelings of frustration and may lead to reductions in work efficacy. The shortage of health care providers is a major concern worldwide. Clinician burnout is a threat to US health and health care. At more than 6 million in 2019, nurses are the largest segment of our health care workforce, making up nearly 30% of hospital employment nationwide. Nurses are a critical group of clinicians with diverse skills, such as health promotion, disease prevention, and direct treatment. The study sought to investigate job stressors and burnout among immigrant nurses caring for the elderly in the United States of America: The role of working environment conditions. The study established that Immigrant health care workers are, on average, more educated than US-born workers, and they often work at lower professional levels in the US because of lack of certification or licensure. They work nontraditional shifts that are hard to fill (such as nights and weekends), and they bring linguistic and cultural diversity to address the needs of patients of varied ethnic backgrounds. This nursing shortage has been associated with both work and personal conditions, such as unrealistic job expectations, poor work conditions, work demands that exceed resources, poor collegial relationships, increased work hazards, and poor autonomy and control over practice. In addition to shortage, health care sector in US has special situation of massive increase in demand on health care services. This has strengthened nurses’ feelings of dissatisfaction and burnout.

Key words: Job, Stressors, Burnout, Immigrant, Nurse, Caring, Elderly, Work, Environment, USA


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How to Cite
Blanchfield, M. A. (2021). Job Stressors and Burnout among Immigrant Nurses Caring for the Elderly in the United States of America: The Role of Working Environment Conditions. Journal of Human Resource & Leadership, 5(2), 1-13. Retrieved from