Rates of burnout among health care professionals are rising. Oncology nurses are at the forefront of cancer care, and maintenance of their well-being is crucial to delivering high-quality care to people with cancer. The purpose of this pilot study was to implement a novel intervention, Storytelling Through Music, and examine the effects on depression, insomnia, loneliness, self-awareness, self-compassion, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction in oncology nurses.
This two-group (intervention and control), quasi-experimental study of a 6-week intervention combined storytelling, reflective writing, songwriting, and stress management skills.
Participants (N = 43) were predominately white (98%), with 27% reporting Hispanic ethnicity, and female (95%); their average oncology experience was 8.5 years. Both groups improved significantly over time on all measures. Compared with the control group, participants in the intervention group also had significantly less loneliness ([3, 98] = 7.46; < .001) and insomnia ([3, 120] = 5.77; < .001) and greater self-compassion ([3, 105] = 2.88; < .05) and self-awareness ([3, 120] = 2.42; < .10).
There are few opportunities for health care professionals to reflect on the impact of caregiving. The Storytelling Through Music intervention provided a structured space for reflection by participants, individually and among their peers, which decreased loneliness and increased self-compassion. Both factors relate to the burnout that affects the oncology health care workforce.