Lanz’s research studies nurse burnout, stress at work

Julie Lanz Photo
Julie Lanz

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Nurses who are more resilient don’t typically experience as much workplace burnout.

That is what psychologist Julie Lanz found in her recently published research through a project she’s worked on since 2013. As part of her Ph.D. dissertation at Florida International University, Lanz studied stressors nurses experience in the workplace and surveyed nurses on their level of resilience.

“It turns out that nurses struggle with a lot of different types of stressors,” said Lanz, assistant professor of psychology at University of Nebraska at Kearney. “The goal of the study was to understand how these different stressors affect important workplace outcomes, and if there are any factors that mitigate the negative outcomes associated with stress. We all experience adversity, but how do we bounce back from that? Resilience may play a role.”

Resilience is the ability to cope with stress and bounce back from adversity despite challenging circumstances.

Nurses experience stress in the workplace because of the technical skills required for the job and non-technical skills such as interacting with patients or having empathy. Lanz measured two stressors – conflict and workload.

Lanz surveyed nurses on how frequently they experience conflict at work, their level of workload, negative emotions related to their job and their level of resilience. She also studied burnout, their intentions to leave their job and physical injuries they’ve experienced at work.

Her research found that the nurses who have high resilience, such as positive coping skills and a support system, are less likely to report burnout and less likely to leave their job despite experiencing a lot of conflict.

She also found that nurses with a heavy workload reported having more injuries in the workplace.

Lanz hopes her findings help medical facilities better understand how to create a supportive work environment for nurses.

“We have a lot of baby boomers getting ready to retire, and we don’t have enough health care providers to take care of them. If there’s anything we can do to keep nurses in the field and encourage people to go into the field, we need to do it,” Lanz said.

The project was funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Her research was recently published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Lanz is beginning work on an upcoming study to determine whether nursing students can be trained to be more resilient.

Title: Assistant professor of psychology
College: Natural and Social Sciences
Years at UNK: 3
Education: B.S. from the University of Iowa, M.S. from Missouri State University, Ph.D. from Florida International University
Courses Taught: Health Psychology and Lab, General Psychology, Experimental Psychology and Lab, Ethics in Psychology, Abnormal Behavior and Society
Research Interests: Resilience, stress, health, wellbeing, applicant reactions, leadership


Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529,
Source: Julie Lanz, 308.865.8196,