Factors contributing to burnout and work-life balance in adult oncology nursing: An integrative review

Louise Gribben, Cherith Semple

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
153 Downloads (Pure)


Occupational stress and burnout are highlighted as the most prevalent workplace issues for adult oncology nurses. With today's global nursing workforce shortage; coupled with oncology being an inherently challenging and complex speciality, this clearly indicates the need to understand factors that contribute to burnout in adult oncology nurses and improve work-life balance. The aim of this integrative review is to synthesis the evidence on burnout and work-life balance for adult oncology nurses.

A systematic search of four databases (CINAHL, Ovid Medline, PsycINFO and Scopus), identified 17 quantitative and three mixed-method studies. Studies were critically appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Following data extraction, a qualitative evidence synthesis utilising an inductive approach was adopted to better understand influential factors, generating analytical themes.

One study had a specific focus on what ameliorates work-life balance for oncology nurses; depicting an area that warrants further study. All studies reported on burnout, of which six analytical themes were further categorised into two broad themes, namely: (1) ‘Inability to thrive’: struggling with workplace burnout due to organisational challenges and (2) ‘Personal perspectives influencing burnout’, for adult oncology nurses. Burnout was influenced by multiple oncology-specific factors due to quantitative workload demands and disease acuity. Workplace culture, shift in additional hours being worked remotely and personal characteristics of the nurse, also influenced susceptibility for the development of burnout in oncology nurses.

Confronting burnout and promoting wellness are the shared responsibility of both individual adult oncology nurses and their organisations to build resilience and help sustain and build workforce capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101887
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Early online date8 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Crown Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Adult cancer nursing
  • Burnout
  • Integrative review
  • Occupational stress
  • Oncology nurses
  • Work-life balance
  • Workplace


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