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Nurs Adm Q. 2019 Oct/Dec;43(4):358-369. doi: 10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000370.

Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction Among Multisite Multisystem Nurses.

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Kaiser Permanente Southern California Patient Care Services, Regional Nursing Research Program, Kaiser Permanente, Pasadena (Drs Kawar and Rondinelli and Ms Valdez); Loma Linda University Health, Loma Linda, California (Dr Radovich); Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospital, Pasadena, California (Dr Zuniga).


Compassion fatigue is a phenomenon that might affect nurses of all specialties. Compassion fatigue occurrence could be profound and costly. The immediate impact could be disruption of the unit culture. This study investigated the prevalence and individual-level factors associated with compassion fatigue among nurses. An upsurge in patients' complexity today may leave nurses stressed with increasing practice demands and vulnerable to compassion fatigue. If ignored, compassion fatigue may compromise nurses' health and care outcomes. A sample of 1174 nurses from 2 large Southern California health care organizations completed an online survey measuring compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction. Overall, participants scored moderate to average (23-41) on compassion satisfaction, burnout, and compassion satisfaction. Experienced and working nights nurses experienced higher compassion satisfaction levels. Higher compassion fatigue means were associated with new graduates = 29.5, BSN nurses = 27.2, ICU nurses = 27.4, and working 12-hour shift nurses = 26.9, suggesting higher compassion fatigue vulnerability. Nurse leaders and managers can apply this baseline evidence to create tailored programs for specific nursing specialties and inexperienced nurses to tackle compassion fatigue and reduce related unit disorder. Seasoned nurses' perspective can be of value in enhancing those efforts.

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