New research findings on burnout and exhaustion in nursing staff

A new study has identified several workplace factors likely to be triggering burnout and exhaustion in nurses.

6 June 2023

Latest research from the University of Southampton has found long shifts combined with poor staffing levels and little choice in working patterns are likely to be behind nurses experiencing burnout and exhaustion.

Dr Chiara Dall’Ora, Dr Zoe Ejebu, Professor Jane Ball and Professor Peter Griffiths examined responses from 870 nurses in the UK, looking at the factors affecting their work life.

The evidence found working shifts between eight and 12 hours, low staffing levels and having no choice over shift length were associated with an increased risk of burnout in nursing staff. These factors, coupled with rarely or not taking breaks, were also associated with exhaustion.

Conversely, the researchers concluded that staff who have a complete choice over shift patterns were less likely to experience burnout and exhaustion.

You can read the full study findings on the University of Southampton website.

Or for more support on this theme, see our range of resources and articles below.

Further resources

Evidence-based approaches to workforce wellbeing provides a useful basis for reviewing your approach to workforce wellbeing.

Our beating burnout resource provides insight for trusts to develop preventative measures.

Supporting our NHS people experiencing stress was developed alongside our health and wellbeing leads, providing information to help you support staff experiencing stress.

Sleep, fatigue and the workplace offers information on how sleep and fatigue can impact on the health of staff, with practical recommendations for improving the quality of sleep and rest.

Our shift work in healthcare infographic details statistics and key facts on the impact of shift work in healthcare as found by the NHS Staff Council's Health, Safety and Wellbeing Group.

Mental health in the workplace offers tools and resources to help you make positive improvements to employee mental wellbeing.

Flexible working common myths debunks a range of common misconceptions around flexible working in the NHS.