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This study explored whether ego depletion mediated the relationship between illegitimate tasks and nurses’ work engagement. We recruited 760 Chinese nurses at three tertiary hospitals and a general hospital to complete a survey on illegitimate tasks, ego depletion, and work engagement. The results show that illegitimate tasks were negatively related to work engagement and that ego depletion partially mediated this relationship. These results provide a theoretical reference to improve nurses’ work engagement through avoiding illegitimate tasks.