Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

School Name

Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences



Major Advisor

Kathy Hager

Second Advisor

Heather Owens

Third Advisor

Carla Hermann



Background: Oncology nurses are exposed to their patients’ extreme suffering and death. This exposure places them at risk of developing Compassion Fatigue. Compassion Fatigue is often described as trauma that results from caring for those that are suffering. Its sequelae are like post-traumatic stress syndrome, including emotional and physical conditions. Nurses experiencing Compassion Fatigue could jeopardize their health, as well as their patients’ health. Evidence-based interventions may reduce the risk or presence of Compassion Fatigue.

Objectives: The objective of this project was to test an intervention that could prevent or reduce Compassion Fatigue in the oncology nurse. Based on the best evidence available, education and Guided Imagery (a mindfulness-based intervention), were chosen.

Methods: Oncology nurses who met inclusion criteria and were willing to participate in the study were directed to complete a pre-survey, view a presentation, download and use a guided meditation application, and then complete repeat surveys at 30- and 60-days. The Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) survey was used to measure Compassion Fatigue risk or presence.

Findings: The initial survey indicated that 30% of the nurse participants were at risk of Compassion Fatigue. The surveys completed at 30-days post-intervention showed a 24% Compassion Fatigue risk and at 60-days post a 10% Compassion Fatigue risk.

Conclusion: Education and guided imagery may be options for reducing Compassion Fatigue and the risk of developing it. The results of this evidence-based project are planned for publication.

Keywords: Compassion, fatigue, oncology, nursing, mindfulness, intervention