Intervening to improve compassion fatigue resiliency in nurse residents

Kathleen Flarity, Whitney Jones Rhodes, Paul Reckard


Nurses who are younger and new to the profession demonstrate higher prevalence of compassion fatigue compared to their more experienced counterparts. Accordingly, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Standards for Accreditation recently required that nurse residency programs incorporate the teaching of strategies to prevent compassion fatigue in their learning experiences.  This study examined the impact of a compassion fatigue resiliency intervention in new graduate nurse residents in two hospitals with nurse residency programs within a university health system. Compassion satisfaction and the two components of compassion fatigue (CF), secondary traumatic stress (STS) and burnout (BO), were measured at baseline and 2-month follow-up. Changes in mean scores and prevalence were reported. A statistically significant decrease in mean STS from baseline to follow-up was found (p < .001). A mean increase in CS and decrease in BO were trending in the desired direction but were not statistically significant. As hypothesized, prevalence of CS increased and STS and BO decreased from baseline to 2-months post intervention.The results suggest that compassion fatigue interventions may be beneficial to nurse residents in decreasing CF symptoms and increasing CS early in their careers. More research is needed to understand the optimal timing and type of intervention.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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