Psychiatric nursing is a stressful profession associated with high levels of burnout. Previous research has demonstrated that burnout in psychiatric nurses can be reduced via training that improves behaviour modification skills. However, the minimum amount of training required to demonstrate a beneficial effect is unclear. We evaluated the impact of a 4-day behaviour modification training program on stress, burnout, and therapeutic attitudes in nurses who were in frequent daily inpatient contact with patients with severe mental illnesses. Nurses working in the same wards served as a control group. Training improved therapeutic attitudes but did not alter self ratings of job-stress and burnout. The need for multi-pronged approaches to the prevention and treatment of burnout in psychiatric nurses is discussed.