Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Clark, Paul

Committee Member

Anderson, Debra

Author's Keywords

nurse burnout; intensive care unit; Maslach burnout inventory; work breaks


This paper examines nurse burnout in intensive care unit (ICU) nurses. The quality improvement (QI) project was conducted at the University of Louisville Hospital (ULH) in a ten bed medical intensive care unit (MICU) over the course of one month. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) survey and a demographic questionnaire were administered to nurses pre and post intervention. The intervention consisted of a uninterrupted, 30 minute work break during a nurse’s twelve hour work shift. The MBI survey was used to determine nurses’ level of burnout using three subscales; emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. A paired t-test was used to examine MICU nurses’ level of burnout by comparing their pre-intervention and post-intervention burnout scores. Results indicated that only 55% (n=11) of MICU nurses took their mandated, uninterrupted work breaks. In nurses who took their mandated breaks, mean burnout levels were reduced for emotional exhaustion but did not show statistical significance (p=0.056); mean burnout levels for depersonalization were not reduced nor showed statistical significance (p=.967); and mean burnout levels for personal accomplishment did not improve nor was there statistical significance (p=.665). Rationales for these results include limited staffing resulting in improper nurse-patient ratios, patient acuity, nurse workload, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in

Nursing Commons