Burnout in nursing is a global phenomenon. Caring for dying patients could increase nurses' death anxiety. However, minimal information about oncology nurses' burnout and attitudes towards death in Chinese culture has been reported. This study aims to assess Chinese oncology nurses' burnout, and its relationship with attitudes towards death. A cross-sectional design was used. A total of 279 oncology nurses from a cancer hospital in northern China were recruited using convenience sampling, and completed a survey containing a demographic form, the Death Attitudes Profile Scale and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. Descriptive statistics, independent t-test and one-way ANOVA, Pearson correlation analysis and multiple regression analysis were conducted to analyze data. An average of 73.1%-86.9% of oncology nurses reported moderate to high levels of burnout. Specifically, 48.7%, 45.4% and 65.1% of oncology nurses reported high levels of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment, respectively. Multiple regression analysis showed that fear of death, escape acceptance, younger age and participation of death education/training were significantly associated with emotional exhaustion (p < 0.01), accounting for 22.0% of the variance; fear of death, escape acceptance, and neutral acceptance in total explained 17.8% of depersonalization; fear of death, escape acceptance and neutral acceptance accounted for 8.5% of personal accomplishment. Oncology nurses with more positive attitudes towards death experience less burnout. Death education and death related training including discussion of personal attitudes towards death should be part of nursing education programs, which would in turn prevent oncology nurses from burnout. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.