Burnout and the nursing shortage of the healthcare system is not a new issue for nurses, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused this problem to only get worse (Young, 2021). Most healthcare facilities are severely understaffed. The nursing shortage and symptoms of burnout among nurses working in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) and other high-demand COVID-19 nursing units have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inferior working conditions such as increased work times, increased workload, and decreased training in the care of COVID-19 patients magnified nursing burnout and the ongoing nursing shortage (Galanis et al., 2021). Discovering ways to reduce the stress and burnout of the nurses working the frontlines of the pandemic is critical to promoting positive mental health of nurses. Some studies have shown there is a correlation between nursing satisfaction and the shift hours worked. Adverse effects such as stress and burnout of nurses, decreased patient outcomes, and lower patient satisfaction reports are associated with nurses working longer hours (Hoedl et al., 2021). The 2023 National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) reported that approximately 100,000 Registered Nurses (RNs) left the workforce because of burnout, stress, or retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A change is needed to address the ongoing nursing shortage. A prudent, manageable, and cost-efficient way to help reduce nursing burnout is by decreasing the nursing shifts from twelve-hour to eight-hour shifts on high-stress and high- demand nursing units. The PICOT question that will be used for the evidence-based change is the following: In ICU nurses taking care of COVID-19 patients (P), how do eight-hour shifts (I) compared to twelve-hour shifts (C) affect nursing burnout (O) within eight weeks (T)?

Date of publication

Summer 8-7-2023

Document Type

MSN Capstone Project



Persistent identifier




Included in

Nursing Commons