The relationship between quick return shift schedules and burnout among nurses: A prospective repeated measures multi-source study

Ania Lauz Hatukay, Tamar Shochat, Natalie Zion, Hagar Baruch, Ricky Cohen, Yarden Azriel, Einav Srulovici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: In today's world, essential health care services are expected round the clock, leading to distinct shift work requirements. A notable aspect is the "quick return," where the rest interval between nursing shifts is <11 h. Preliminary research suggests a potential association between quick return schedules, diminished sleep quality, and possible nurse burnout. Yet, the motivation of nurses could potentially moderate this relationship.

OBJECTIVE: To examine a moderated-mediation model, whereby sleep duration and nurse's motivation act together to mediate the link between quick return schedules and nurse's burnout.

DESIGN: A prospective repeated measures (4-5 nursing shifts per nurse) multi-source (self-report and objective measures) study.

SETTING: Internal and surgical departments across one large and one medium scale teaching hospitals in Israel.

PARTICIPANTS: Registered nurses who provide direct patient care (n = 79) across 369 shifts.

METHODS: Nurses completed a questionnaire containing personal information and information regarding their shifts during the study week. They wore an accelerometer (a wrist worn device that monitors and records an individual's activity level) during a work-week to objectively determine their sleep duration, completed a motivation questionnaire at the beginning of each shift, and completed a burnout questionnaire at the end of the week. Mixed-model regression analysis was used to test a moderated-mediation model following Hayes' recommendations, whereby the joint effect of sleep duration and motivation mediates the link between quick return schedules and burnout.

RESULTS: The moderated-mediation model was supported. Quick return schedules were negatively statistically significantly associated with sleep duration (b = -126.54, SE = 20.85, p < 0.001); so that more frequent quick return schedules were related to shorter sleep duration. However, no direct correlation was observed between sleep duration and burnout (p = 0.171). A statistically significant interaction was observed between sleep duration and motivation (b = 0.00, SE = 0.00, p < 0.001) concerning burnout. Thus, nurses with lower motivation were prone to experiencing higher levels of burnout with shorter sleep duration compared to nurses with higher motivation.

CONCLUSIONS: The mediating role of sleep duration, moderated by motivation, plays a role in the connection between quick return schedules and burnout. This indicates that nurses can sustain their work motivation even within the demands of quick return schedules, consequently mitigating burnout levels. To prioritize employees' well-being, organizations should adopt shift work structures that minimize quick return schedules and extend nurses' sleep duration. Consequently, managers must employ strategies to enhance nurses' motivation when addressing scenarios that necessitate quick return schedules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104677
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Early online date22 Dec 2023
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Quick return
  • “Burnout, professional” [mesh]
  • “Motivation” [mesh]
  • “Nurses” [mesh]
  • “Shift work schedule” [mesh]
  • “Sleep duration” [mesh]

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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