• To understand the detrimental effects that compassion fatigue can have on emergency nurses and the quality of patient care they provide
• To learn about the findings of a mixed-methods study that explored emergency nurses’ experiences and perceptions of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue
• To recognise the importance of providing strategic resilience training and well-being interventions for emergency nurses
Background Compassion fatigue can have detrimental effects on emergency nurses and the quality of patient care they deliver. Ongoing challenges such as operational pressures and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may have increased nurses’ risk of experiencing compassion fatigue.
Aim To explore and understand emergency nurses’ experiences and perceptions of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue.
Method This study used an explanatory sequential mixed-methods design comprising two phases. In phase one, the Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL-5) scale was used to obtain information on the prevalence and severity of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue among emergency nurses. In phase two, six participants’ experiences and perceptions were explored via semi-structured interviews.
Findings A total of 44 emergency nurses completed the ProQOL-5 questionnaires. Six respondents had a high compassion satisfaction score, 38 had a moderate score and none had a low score. In the interviews, participants revealed different explanations regarding their compassion satisfaction levels. Three main themes were identified: personal reflections; factors identified as maintaining stability; and external factors affecting compassion.
Conclusion Compassion fatigue needs to be prevented and addressed systemically to avoid detrimental effects on ED staff morale and well-being, staff retention, patients and care delivery.
Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2023.e2164Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software
Francis-Wenger H (2023) Exploring compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue in emergency nurses: a mixed-methods study. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2023.e2164
Published online: 06 June 2023
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