Compassion Fatigue

23.10.2020 in Research Proposal
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Compassion fatigue refers to the cost that individual nurses incur emotionally as a result of caring for the patients in pain. They are adversely affected as a consequence of direct exposure to traumatic events. They also experience this fatigue after listening to the patient’s narrations of traumatic events. Such secondary exposure may increase the effect of exhaustion (Smith, 2009). Helping others requires opening up one’s heart and mind to the needs of the patients. In the process, this high level of empathy ends up making the nurses vulnerable. Compassion fatigue can, thus, be referred to as profound emotional as well as physical erosion that individuals undergo as a result of primary and secondary exposure to traumatic conditions. Therefore, there is a need to identify the prevalence of such fatigue among the nurses and the potential ways of helping them.

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a. Introduction to the Topic (Evidence-Based Practice Project)

I. Identify Why the Problem is Significant

Today, there is an increasing number of stress and depression cases experienced by the practitioners in the nursing profession. This problem has always been resulting from the incapacity of players in this industry to address the environmental factors that influence the well-being of such nurses adequately. If not addressed, compassion fatigue can have a number of adverse effects on the nurses well-being. The result is stress among nurses as a consequence of the processes they undergo in their caring processes. Such stress reduces their ability to carry out their jobs effectively. Such nurses may also develop depressive moods as well as irritation.

Emotional interruption of such nurses not only reduces their ability to carry out duties, but also reduces their capacity to lead their lives effectively. As a result, the nurses may also end up receiving a high number of complaints from their colleagues, especially when their ability to carry out duties is interfered by stress. Due to such stress levels, nurses may end up exhibiting compulsive behaviors that include overspending, gambling, overeating or even sexual addictions. This behavior may end up resulting legal problems, sadness, difficulty concentrating on work, and self-denial. These are significant problems that may end up crippling the ability of such nurses to carry out their duties effectively as well as lead their lives normally. Thus, there is an urgent need to address these issues (Todaro-Franceschi, 2013).

b. Review of the Literature

I. Evaluate Relevant Research from Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Nursing Journals, and Other Related Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Journals

The primary task of nurses is to meet the needs of the patients. Many health institutions focus on meeting physical as well as emotional requirements of such patients. The following is an evidence-based review of the problem from peer-reviewed journals.







Sabo, Brenda


Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

The author systematically analyzed 20 peer reviewed literary works and provided evidence on compassion fatigue among nurses

The author researched literature regarding the health of nurses. The author found that stress has profound effect on their physical as well as psychological well-being. They are particularly vulnerable to work-related forms of stress

The author notes that the nursing profession often exposes nurses to the instances of burnout. Such burnout is influenced by work as well as organizational-related factors. The author notes that compassion fatigue may not rise as a result of merely being exposed to such fatigue. Effective management of the problem would eliminate manifestation of such fatigue among nurses. The author noted that tress has a potential of resulting reduced accomplishment by individuals, depersonalization as well as emotional exhaustion.

Landro, Laura


Wall Street Journal

A group of 150 nurses from the united states of America

The author found that there was a need for intervention among nurses to address fatigue symptoms. The author noted that compassion fatigue is closely related to the reduction of productivity among nurses. A study carried out in the University of Nevada Nursing School indicated that 12% of the nurses in the United States of America were not working. 27% of the nurses pointed out a burnout as a major problem that impedes their job.

The author noted that the higher level of nurses turnover and work load has the potential of resulting less patient safety and higher death rates. Recognizing as well as relieving such problems is critical for the successful performance of nurses.

Mathieu, Francoise


Rehab & Community Care Medicine


The author focuses on the development of a toolkit that would help eliminate as well as avoid compassion fatigue in organizations. Therefore, it is necessary for the organization to engage in stress cutting strategy. To avoid such fatigue, there is a need for individuals to focus on the contributing factors and minimize them. It is necessary to teach nurses coping skills and improve working conditions. Failure to address these issues results in such individuals being exposed to high levels of difficulties.

The author notes that there is a need for individuals to adopt effective coping strategies. They starts with recognizing as well as addressing challenges that may result in the development of compassion fatigue within the organization. Improved self-care is also necessary in addressing these challenges. Effective management of the individual actions as well as work environment would play an important role in relieving compassion fatigue.

c. Project Description

The project involves the carrying out a research on nurses who have been diagnosed with compassion fatigue and burnout in the past. The study also focuses on how the problem was eliminated. Already identified and approved methods that are tested for intervention among people with compassion fatigue will thus be assessed. This approach will assist in identifying ways through which the condition may be avoided or treated.

I. Planning and preparation

The development involves questionnaires that will be employed in the collection of data. This approach will ensure that all the necessary information regarding the topic is collected. The project will also involve slotting of time for various interviews as well as identification of tools that will be employed in data analysis. Preparation of evidence-based research will also be done. The results will provide the basis on which the study will be carried out and the outcomes will be interpreted (Smith, 2009). 1. IRB An IRB refers to the Institutional Review Boards that are mandated with the task of ensuring that the rights as welfare of human subjects that are involved in the research process are safeguarded. This organization is also aimed at ensuring that the research process is carried out within the ethical boundaries. Its goals are mainly to ensure that those engaged in research not only act ethically, but also lawfully. Standard operating procedures allow ensuring this guideline. In this case, the project learners will ensure that those engaged in the research process do it out of their free will. Moreover, the rights of respondents should not be interfered. Information collected will not be disclosed to other parties and will not be used in adverse ways, other than in the process of attaining the research goals. All these guidelines are aimed at enhancing the integrity of researcher. 2. Administrative Administratively, the research process will be carried out according to the laid out administrative procedures. The research process will be under the supervision of the campus research regulatory organization. 3. Organizational readiness Organizational readiness ensures that the process is well-organized. It also ensures that there are adequate resources. The availability of hospitals and patients to provide information relating to clients will also be assessed.

ii. Timeline

The project will be carried out as indicated in the table below:

Feb 1, 2015

Questionnaire development

Feb 5, 2015

Questionnaire circulation

Feb 10,2015

Collection of questionnaires

Feb 20, 2015

Data analysis

Feb 25, 2015

Presentation of findings

Feb 28, 2015

Training of nurses on compassion fatigue

April 2, 2015


iii. Population Impacted by the Project (Culture, Ethnicity, Sex, Race, Disease, Social status, etc.)

If the project is completed, there is a number of people in the society who will benefit. It will be of prime importance to the nurses who are undergoing compassion fatigue. This study will play a major role in ensuring that physical and psychological well-being of such nurses is maintained. It will also ensure that the patients have access to proper care, as nurses will be less distracted by confusion and stress that emanate from the compassion fatigue that they derive from their jobs and environment. As a result, patients will be offered better care. More so, through proper identification of causes of compassion fatigue and the ways of addressing it, the organization will be in a position to boost the well-being of families of nurses and doctors. This result is based on the understanding that, due to their reduced fatigue and stress levels, these nurses will be able to have better relations with their families. Therefore, their overall level of social satisfaction will increase (Landro, 2012).

iv. Participants in the Project

There will be a number of participants in the project. Such members include nurses of the health facilities. They will identify scenarios that push them to develop compassion fatigue. They will also play an important role in providing information concerning how the nurses have been reacting to such conditions. More so, they will provide an experience of effective medical interventions that have been successfully put in place. This information will help design a new way of addressing the matter (Teater, & Ludgate, 2014).

v. Ethical Considerations

There are several ethical consideration issues that will be addressed to ensure that the research progress follows the needed levels of professionalism. To ensure that patients are not harassed, the study will not seek information from nurses who are already affected by the compassion fatigue. Nevertheless, it will require input from those nurses who have already recovered. The project will also ensure that the consent of patients and their immediate caretakers is addressed. The project will also ensure that the management of health care institutions is involved in addressing the issue.

Vi. Type of Intervention, Education, Project Plan, or Practice Change

Diverse intervention approaches will be employed. The nurses will be provided with anti-depressants, especially those with the early signs of compassion fatigue. Psychologically, the nurses will be trained on how to separate their lives from work. High levels of resilience will be involved in handling the issues. Humor will also be necessary among the nurses, especially for making grave issues lighter and more relaxing. Finally, there will be a need for the organization to provide training and development to nurses in order to prevent compassion fatigue, detecting the onset of the vice and eventually mitigating its effects. In terms of the practice change, nurses will be offered longer vacations with an opportunity to detach themselves from their work (French, Northern Kentucky University & Pro Quest Information and Learning Company, 2006).

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Vii. Discuss Variables, Obstacles, Barriers, Costs, Cost Savings

A number of obstacles is expected. It is difficult for nurses not to come across encounters that can trigger compassion fatigue. They will continue dealing with those who are dying, sick and in pain. It is also evident that the nurses may not have extended holidays as per labor laws, and their ability to acquire continuous training is limited. There is a need for those implementing such projects to have a high degree of follow-up in order to learn about the development of the engaged nurses. This project will be costly in terms of time and resources.

Viii. Tools, Forms, Standards, Guidelines

The research will be carried out using questionnaires. When it comes to dealing with nurses experiencing compassion fatigue, training is compulsory. When it comes to training of such nurses, multi-dimensional approach to teaching will be employed. This method will ensure that those with learning challenges have their issues addressed in a manner that they can understand. Audio and visual material, charts, diagrams and demonstrations will be used with an aim of ensuring that students with diverse learning approaches do grasp the information (Abbott, 2009).

d. Project Evaluation/Outcomes

The results of the project are mainly the reduction of compassion fatigue by 80% by the end of this year in the country. The project will be evaluated through sampling of nurses and identifying the percentage prevalence of the condition among such nurses (Abbott, 2009).

e. Impact on Practice and/or Future Directions

The project will be critical for informing about the future progress of compassion fatigue. It will assist the professional with identifying the ways through which compassion fatigue is eliminated among such nurses. As a result, the overall level of care provision in the country will increase.

f. Summary/Conclusion

From the above data, it is evident that compassion fatigue is a major problem in the society. It results in depression and confusion among nurses, hindering their ability to lead their lives normally as well as reducing their capacity to take care of their patients. There is, thus, an urgent need to address these challenges. This goal will be attained by teaching nurses the effective coping skills, resilience and ability to differentiate their work and personal lives.

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