Predictors of Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction in Acute Care Nurses

Lesly Kelly, Jody Runge, Christina Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To examine compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction in acute care nurses across multiple specialties in a hospital-based setting. Design: A cross-sectional electronic survey design was used to collect data from direct care nurses in a 700-bed, quaternary care, teaching facility in the southwestern United States. Methods: A total of 491 direct care registered nurses completed a survey measuring their professional quality of life (burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction). Analysis was conducted to assess for differences between demographics, specialties, job satisfaction, and intent to leave their current position. Findings: Significant predictors of burnout included lack of meaningful recognition, nurses with more years of experience, and nurses in the "Millennial" generation (ages 21-33 years). Receiving meaningful recognition, higher job satisfaction, nurses in the "Baby Boomer" generation (ages 50-65 years), and nurses with fewer years of experience significantly predicted compassion satisfaction. No significant differences were noted across nurse specialties, units, or departments. Conclusions: This study adds to the literature the impact meaningful recognition may have on compassion satisfaction and fatigue. Our findings provide a potential explanation for the lack of retention of nurses in the millennial generation who leave their positions with limited years of experience. Based on our research, meaningful recognition may increase compassion satisfaction, positively impact retention, and elevate job satisfaction. Clinical Relevance: Compassion fatigue in nurses has clear implications for nursing retention and the quality of care. Organizations willing to invest in reducing compassion fatigue have the potential to improve financial savings by reducing turnover and adverse events associated with burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-528
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Burnout
  • Compassion fatigue
  • Compassion satisfaction
  • Hospital nurses
  • Meaningful recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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