Reducing Compassion Fatigue by Implementing a Self-Care Initiative for Emergency Department Nurses in a Community Hospital
Gregory A Schmalfeldt
Emergency department nurses perform in a highly stressful setting. As a result, researchers have identitifed compassion fatigue as a problematic side-effect of caring for patients with significant emotional and physical distress. Without purposeful intervention, compassion fatigue can lead to more serious conditions such as secondary stress syndrome or burnout. This study explored root causes of exposure to suffering, futility, detachment from patients, and leadership influence. To mitigate the effects of compassion fatigue, the researcher provided a holistic self-care program among emergency department nurses (N=10) at a community-centered hospital. Participants benefited from improved emotional intelligence, physical resilience, spiritual sensitivity, and interpersonal support.