Date of Conferral







Derek Rohde


Research on stress and burnout and their influence on empathy, engagement, and retention, in healthcare support staff is scarce in the literature. The theoretical framework for this study was the conservation of resources (COR) theory which claims that when people are stressed, emotionally exhausted, and experiencing burnout, they protect and preserve their physical and mental resources from becoming depleted by reducing their effort and withdrawing from work. The key research question was: Does burnout mediate the relationship between stress and empathy, engagement, and turnover intentions in healthcare support staff working in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)? This quantitative, non-experimental, mediation analysis included 83 female and 10 male healthcare support staff working in an FQHC. The variables were assessed using the Job Stress Survey (JSS), Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OBI), Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) – Brief Form, and the Behavioral Intentions to Withdraw Measure (BIWM). A path analysis was performed to estimate the magnitude of the relationships between the variables. The results indicate that burnout does not mediate the relationship between stress and empathy, but it does significantly predict engagement and turnover intentions. FQHCs serve vulnerable and medically complex patients in underserved communities, and when the negative impact of burnout in healthcare support staff is addressed, patients, providers, and staff can enable positive social change by achieving important clinical health outcomes for patients.