In the Turkish health care system and hospitals it is very common to witness role conflict and ambiguity among health care personnel. Often this is due to a lack of clarity as to what is expected and required of them. The unfortunate and unavoidable result is a high level of burnout caused by uncertain working conditions in Turkish hospitals. The objectives of this study were to determine the level of role conflict, role ambiguity, and burnout of physicians and nurses working in hospitals, to see the relationship between role conflict, ambiguity and burnout level, to reveal the effects of organisational and indvidual characteristics on the burnout level of physicians and nurses. The study was conducted in three hospitals attached to the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Turkey. 149 nurses and 83 physicians were included in the sample of this study although several efforts of reminders and additional visits to the hospitals to increase the response rate. Structural Equational Modelling (SEM) was chosen to estimate the effects of certain selected individual and organisational variables that were determined by a set of correlation and biovariate analyses on role conflict and ambiguity as well as the burnout level. The SEM results showed that working in surgical units, having less working experience and choosing the profession unwillingly had significant and negative direct effects on the burnout level of the physicians and nurses in the sample of this study. Decreasing the level of role conflict and ambiguity would serve to decrease the level of burnout. In order to decrease the level of role conflict, ambiguity, and burn out level for nurses and physicans, serious efforts must be made to clarify role definitions, increase resources, and employ conflict management methods. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.