Aim The aim of this study was to explore secondary traumatic stress experiences of nurses caring for cancer patients. Methods A qualitative descriptive approach was taken in the study. The team conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with 13 oncology nurses. We evaluated the responses collected using content analysis. Results Three distinct themes emerged from the interviews: cycle of desperation, coping, and change. Conclusion Based on the results obtained, it is suggested that programs containing cognitive restructuring techniques be developed; peer support groups may enable senior nurses to guide inexperienced nurses.