The Effect of Education on Compassion Fatigue as Experienced by Staff Nurses

Primary Submission Contact

Katie Zehr

Faculty Sponsor

Julie Koch

Faculty Sponsor Email Address





BSN-DNP program

Document Type

Oral Presentation




Historically, nursing has been perceived as a highly rewarding profession. Yet, due to the increasing complexity of today’s healthcare, nurses are faced with greater challenges in their work environments. Additionally, registered nurses who work in tertiary care settings are exposed to disturbing patient situations that can be taxing on psychological health. Some examples include trauma, death, abuse, or chronic disease. Joinson (1992) described this experience as compassion fatigue (CF) and explains that those who experience CF may have symptoms such as headaches, short attention span, or fatigue. The purpose of this EBP project was to increase awareness about CF risks, symptoms, and coping mechanisms through educational training for registered nurses in an effort to decrease levels of CF. Educational training was presented to medical-surgical staff nurses at a 526 bed level II trauma center in Northern Indiana. Results were analyzed utilizing one-way repeated measures ANOVA, which demonstrated no statistical significance. However, a reduction in CF scores was noted overtime: pre-intervention M = 20.7, immediate post-intervention M = 20.6, 1-month post-intervention M = 18.8, and 3-month post-intervention M = 17.9. The small sample size (n = 10) potentially impacted these results. It is recommended that future studies incorporate larger sample sizes.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Katie has been a registered nurse for five years and has worked in various clinical settings. She has served as a mentor, clinical coach, and charge nurse. In her role as charge nurse, she has been exposed to fellow nurses who experience emotional difficulties related to patient care. These experiences sparked her interest in the topic of compassion fatigue. After receiving her DNP, Katie’s career focus will be acutely ill adults within an inpatient setting.

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