Differences in Compassion Satisfaction, Compassion Fatigue, and Work Environment Factors by Hospital Registered Nurse Type

Lisa Lisle, MSN, RN, CEN; Karen Gabel Speroni, PhD, RN, BSN, MHSA; Wynne Aroom, MSN, RN-BC, CDE; Lynn Crouch, MSN, RNC-OB; Hope Honigsberg, CRNP, RN, CNOR

Disclosures

Online J Issues Nurs. 2020;25(3) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Patients and families desire compassionate care from healthcare providers. In today's healthcare environment, challenges exist for all providers, including nurses, with balancing the delivery of consistent, compassionate care and maintaining a professional quality of life (QOL) that incorporates overall wellness and a healthy work environment. A literature review indicated no available research related to compassion satisfaction and fatigue and work environment by RN type. The aims of this study were to quantify differences in compassion satisfaction (CS) and compassion fatigue (CF) scores, including burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS), by four registered nurse (RN) employment-types and to study work environment factors. Our methods included a survey of a random sample (n = 208) of RNs by type. Study results indicated that significant differences existed by RN type for CF (burnout and STS) scores; nurse leaders had the most CF and other nurses the least. Significant differences also existed for some shared governance activities and workplace violence measures. Our discussion concludes that opportunities exist for evaluation of interventions for healthier work environments, particularly for nurse leaders, including supporting shared governance activities for all RN types, as well as zero-tolerance for workplace violence.

Introduction

Patients and families desire compassionate care from healthcare providers. In today's healthcare environment, challenges exist for all providers, including nurses, with balancing the delivery of consistent, compassionate care and maintaining a professional quality of life (QOL) that incorporates overall wellness and a healthy work environment.

Professional QOL incorporates positive and negative aspects (Stamm, 2010). An important positive aspect is compassion satisfaction (CS) and a negative aspect is compassion fatigue (CF). CS is the pleasure a nurse derives from performing his/her work well, such as the pleasure of helping others with their work. Nurses may experience positive feelings toward colleagues about their ability to contribute to the work setting or even the greater good of society. CF addresses two parts, with the first being exhaustion, frustration, anger and depression typical of burnout, and the second being secondary traumatic stress (STS), a negative feeling driven by fear and work-related trauma.

Healthcare providers are exposed to traumatic incidents that create immediate and/or delayed stress reactions that impact overall wellness (Griner, Shirk, Brown, & Hain, 2017). As CF can negatively affect nurses' well-being, the authors, all registered nurses (RNs), conducted a literature review that focused on RN employment-type groups, specifically, clinical nurses, nurse managers, nurse leaders, and other nurses. In our research, we assessed differences in CS and CF potentially related to work environment factors.

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