Background Compassionate care is the sensitivity shown by health care providers to understand another person's suffering and a willingness to help and to promote the well being of that person. Although monitoring of compassionate care is key to ensuring patient-centered care, there is no validated tool in the Ethiopian context that can be applied to measure compassionate care. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the structural validity and reliability of the 12-item Schwartz Center Compassionate Care Scale.sup.® (SCCCS) in the Ethiopian context. Methods The structural validity and reliability of the 12-item Schwartz Center Compassionate Care Scale.sup.® were investigated in a sample of 423 oncology patients in the adult Oncology department of Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The internal consistency of the instrument was examined based on Cronbach's alpha coefficient, and the structural validity was evaluated by subjecting the items of the instrument to factor analysis. Statistical analysis was made using SPSS version 23.0. Results We have found that the Schwartz Center Compassionate Care scale is a two-factor structure (recognizing suffering and acting to relieve suffering). The scale has high overall scale reliability, which was 0.88, and subscale reliability of 0.84 for both recognizing suffering and acting to relieve suffering factors. Conclusions The Schwartz Center Compassionate Care Scale has high internal consistency and acceptable structural validity value. The tool can be used to measure compassionate care practice in the Ethiopian context.