Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Major

Nursing

Date of Defense

8-8-2013

Graduate Advisor

Dr. Susann Farberman

Committee

Bachman, Jean

Magnuson, Nancy

Balakas, Karen

Abstract

Compassion fatigue is a term used to describe the unique stressors affecting people in care-giving professions (Joinson in 1992). For nurses, the impact of compassion fatigue may result in stress-related symptoms, job dissatisfaction, decreased productivity, patient satisfaction, safety issues, and job turnover. The purposes of this non-experimental descriptive survey using electronic distribution to collect data were to identify the prevalence of compassion fatigue composed of burnout and secondary traumatic stress and compassion satisfaction among nurses and nursing staff who deliver direct patient care at the hospital and the relationship between demographic variables (age, work category, level of education, work experience) and the presence of compassion fatigue, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction on selected nursing care units at a Midwest pediatric hospital. Swanson’s (1991) Caring Theory was used to guide this study. Compassion fatigue was normally distributed throughout the sample. Results demonstrated that nurses who work on the cardiology unit had higher compassion satisfaction scores than nurses who worked in the pediatric intensive care unit, cardiothoracic care unit and the emergency unit. Nurses working in the pediatric intensive care unit had higher secondary traumatic stress scores than nurses who work in the emergency unit and cardiology unit. Additionally, nurses who worked in the pediatric intensive care unit reflected lower compassion satisfaction scores as well as higher burn out and secondary traumatic stress scores than nurses in all of the other nursing care units studied. Compassion satisfaction, burn-out and secondary traumatic stress scores did not statistically differ by age, work category, level of education, or work experience. The results of this study demonstrate the existence of compassion fatigue at a Midwest pediatric hospital. This study provided data necessary to develop a program addressing compassion fatigue at this hospital. Results also suggest that nurses who work in the pediatric intensive care unit must be a priority group targeted for immediate intervention.

Included in

Nursing Commons

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