Compassion fatigue is a more recent concept and has been studied primarily in nonnursing groups. It’s more common among health care workers than those in education or working with children and family issues. In two studies, nurses who cared for people affected by the 2004 hurricane season in Florida either in the emergency room or other deployments were found as groups to have low risk of compassion fatigue (Alexander, 2006; Frank & Adkinson, 2007). In a more recent study, 78% of hospice nurses were found to be at a moderate to high risk of compassion fatigue (Aberndroth & Flannery, 2006).
The purpose of this research study was to describe the prevalence of compassion fatigue among a broad spectrum of nurses and to investigate the situations that lead to compassion fatigue and methods of coping. The research questions were as follows: 1. To what extent do hospital and home care nurses experience compassion fatigue? 2. What are the relationships among compassion satisfaction and levels of compassion fatigue and burnout? 3. What types of situations do nurses report as triggers of compassion fatigue? 4. Which strategies do nurses find helpful to deal with situations that trigger compassion fatigue? METHODS
The study included both quantitative and qualitative components addressed in a questionnaire consisting of three parts. The first part of the questionnaire consisted of demographic information including age, education, nursing experience, and working situations. The second part of the questionnaire, the Professional Quality of Life Scale includes three subscales measuring compassion fatigue/ secondary trauma, burnout, and compassion satisfaction. The third part of the questionnaire, providing data for the qualitative part of the study, included two questions which invited a narrative response. The two questions were used from interviews of pediatric nurses about compassion fatigue. 1....