Assessing Compassion Fatigue Risk Among Nurses in a Large Urban Trauma Center

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OBJECTIVEThis study evaluated the prevalence and severity of compassion fatigue (CF) risk among nurses employed in a large southwestern hospital system.BACKGROUNDCompassion fatigue is defined as multifaceted exhaustion stemming from untreated distress that leads to physical and emotional problems. Low morale, increased medication errors, and higher turnover can result.METHODSA descriptive design was used to identify: 1) the prevalence and severity of CF risk among a sample of registered nurses; and 2) the differences in demographic characteristics correlated with CF risk.RESULTSForty-six percent of nurses reported moderate to high CF risk. Compassion fatigue risk was significantly associated with years of employment, unit worked, job changes, and use of sick days.CONCLUSIONThis study reports new knowledge about compassion fatigue, established risk profiles across clinical units, and clarified optimal timing for interventions for those at the highest risk for CF.

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