Code Compassion: A caring fatigue reduction intervention
Burnout is the response to chronic physiologic and emotional stressors experienced by many professionals.5 In the nursing profession, when burnout is compounded with secondary trauma, nurses may experience compassion fatigue.6Secondary trauma occurs when the nurse caring for a patient and family who experience a trauma feels his or her own pressure, anxiety, stress, and other emotions associated with the traumatic event.6 Conversely, nurses experience compassion satisfaction, or the pleasure and gratitude they derive through patient interactions and their roles as nurses, which balances their professional quality of life. (See Figure 1.)6,7
Although we typically think of compassion fatigue as an issue affecting more experienced, or earlier generation nurses, recent findings suggest a need to intervene early to successfully prevent burnout. To this end, one academic medical center created a multifaceted, evidence-based intervention project called Code Compassion to reduce compassion fatigue in acute care clinical nurses.