Do mindfulness interventions reduce burnout in oncology nurses? A literature review
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Do mindfulness interventions reduce burnout in oncology nurses? A literature review

Poppy Lear Nursing student, Department of Nursing Science, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England
Tanya Andrewes Lecturer (academic) adult nursing, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise that oncology nurses often initially experience high levels of compassion satisfaction, but are also at risk of burnout

  • To identify how a variety of mindfulness interventions can improve oncology nurses’ emotional well-being and reduce the risk of burnout

  • To be aware that managing staff’s emotional health and well-being is a shared organisational and individual responsibility

Nursing patients with cancer is associated with a high level of intensity of emotional engagement, which can result in compassion fatigue and burnout, with nurses leaving the profession as a result. Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment to improve health and well-being. This literature review sought to answer the question: ‘do mindfulness interventions reduce burnout in oncology nurses?’ A systematic database search was undertaken and seven articles were included in this review. Three main themes arose from content analysis of the articles: overall effectiveness of a diverse range of interventions; physical and psychological effect on nurses including skills acquisition to improve resilience; and the practicalities of using emotional support interventions.

Mindfulness interventions can reduce levels of compassion fatigue and burnout in oncology nurses, and in practice these nurses can use the techniques learned to reduce stress and to support them in coping with challenging situations. Thus, such interventions can reduce the emotional cost of caring, reduce staff absences due to ill health and reduce the number of nurses leaving the profession or department.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1763

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Lear P, Andrewes T (2021) Do mindfulness interventions reduce burnout in oncology nurses? A literature review. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2021.e1763

Published online: 12 July 2021

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