Relationship Between Shift-hours Worked (12 hour vs. 8 hour) And Nurses’ Burnout: Study Across Acute Care Units In a Community Hospital

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Background and Rationale:

Nurses are expected to provide quality care to patients, and work demands in the health care system are increasing. A burnout situation results in persistent mental and physical exhaustion. Increased turnover of nurses was observed in a southwest Michigan hospital which may be from burnout.


  • To evaluate the significance and level of perceived burnout in nurses who work the 12-hour shift, compared to those who work the 8-hour shift;
  • Investigate the relationship between nurse-to-patient ratios and burnout;
  • Compare burnout levels between nurses working day versus night shifts.


This project utilized a cross-sectional approach with convenience sampling of nurses from the hospital acute care units. After receiving approval from the Andrews University IRB, the project manager obtained survey data from nurses using MBI questionnaire between August 2017 and March 2018. The survey comprised of 22 questions distributed via online and paper-format. Three domains of the MBI were tested: Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Decreased personal accomplishment. Data analysis was completed using ANOVA and MANOVA statistics (p = 0.5).


A total of 118 nurses participated in the survey. Ninety-seven nurses worked full-time, and 94 nurses worked 12-hour shifts. Forty-eight nurses worked night shifts, and 61 nurses had a heavy patient assignment (5-8 patients/shift). Majority of the nurses (58) had between 1-5 years of work experience. Though mean scores were very close to burnout threshold, none of the groups’ scores were significant for burnout. However, a significant difference was observed in the domain of ‘emotional exhaustion’ between day shift compared to night shift nurses F (1, 116) = 3.93, p = .05. Nurses who have a higher patient load (5-8 patients) also have higher but not significant level of ‘emotional exhaustion.’


Though MBI scores did not reveal burnout in nurses working in this Southwest Michigan Hospital, emotional exhaustion was a significant factor with day shift nurses. Higher patient loads should be further assessed for its potential impact on nurses’ work and burnout.


Sigma Eta Zeta Chapter, Spring Research Symposium. Berrien Springs, MI

First Department


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