A mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention for nurses working in pediatric oncology lowered compassion fatigue and burnout. These findings were presented at a European Nursing Society (EONS) session at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress.

Pediatric hematology-oncology nurses are frequently exposed to the pain or distressing situations experienced by the children they are develop close relationships with. It is inevitable that they show intense empathy and sympathy, and it can cause nurses to experience compassion fatigue and decreased levels of compassion satisfaction, explained Tuğba Pehlivan Sarıbudak, PhD, RN, of Istinye University in Turkey and presenter of the study. Adding to this, the higher number of patients per nurse increases work-related stress and burnout in oncology nurses.

Dr Sarıbudak and colleagues’ study sought to evaluate whether an MBSR intervention could improve professional quality of life. Twenty pediatric oncology nurses were recruited at a private hospital in Turkey between 2021 and 2022. The nurses were evaluated using the Professional Quality of Life Scale-IV and Perceived Stress Scale instruments prior to and following weekly 60- to 90-minute MBSR sessions for 8 weeks.

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The recruited nurses were mean age 29.80 years, 95% were women, 90% were satisfied with working in clinics, and 65% were not receiving awareness training.

Compared with baseline, the nurses had significant decreases in compassion fatigue (P =.014) and burnout (P =.017) scores with effect sizes of 0.380 and 0.393, respectively. The MBSR intervention did not appear to have an effect on compassion satisfaction or perceived stress.

“MBSR is beneficial in reducing compassion fatigue and burnout levels of nurses and may enable emotional regulation and improve effective coping skills,” concluded Dr Sarıbudak. The researchers recommend the MBSR program be expanded, and future studies be conducted with different groups.


Pehlivan Saribudak T, Semerci R, Çalişkan B, Yildiz G, Altinel N, Kapanci M. The effect of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program on the pediatric hematology: oncology nurses’ professional quality of life and perceived stress level. Ann Oncol. 2022;33(suppl_7):S820-S826. doi:10.1016/annonc/annonc1046

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor