Stress contributes to health problem, decreased efficiency, career change, and poor patient care. Aim: To identify knowledge about how the experience of stress and burnout affects nurses. Method: A qualitative literature review based on findings from twelve studies that examined the nurses’ description and perception of their daily work and their feelings of stress and burnout. Results: Nurses felt a responsibility towards their patients, colleagues and management. However, due to external impulses, they are unable to perform as required, leading to stress and burnout. This can be described in six themes: A desire to provide ideal nursing, self-imposed demands, experiencing behavioural symptoms, experiencing physical symptoms, experiencing psychiatric symptoms, having a mental breakdown. Conclusion: It is important to respond to a nurse’s stress symptoms to prevent any worsening and to strengthen the nurse’s self-esteem and threatened self-image. Furthermore, it is important for nurses to be aware of any early signs of stress.