This article reports how professional, job‐related burnout in nurses (N = 192) is examined in relation to a developed index of irrational thinking patterns in a large, urban hospital setting. Based on the constructs of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the study examines maladaptive thinking patterns related to nursing burnout and provides insight into possible educational and staff interventions for the syndrome. Low mean scores on all but two subscales indicate overall strength and stability among this sample. The demonstration that both burnout thoughts (r = 0.451, p = <.01) and burnout behaviors (r = 0.350, p = <.01) are significantly correlated with the perfection and control pattern support the study's assumptions. Nurses who demand perfection and control in themselves and others create unrealistic demands and expectations that cannot be met in the real world of nursing. The investigator believes that a regular stress management program, using the concepts of REBT, can foster professional growth and development, decrease workplace conflict and stress, and provide nurses (and other employees) with strategies and tools to disarm the irrational beliefs that build maladaptive cognitive patterns leading to professional burnout.