Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Assessing Compassion Fatigue Risk Among Nurses in a Large Urban Trauma Center

Wijdenes, Kati L., DNP, RN; Badger, Terry A., PhD, RN; Sheppard, Kate G., PhD, RN

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: January 2019 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 19–23
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000702

OBJECTIVE This study evaluated the prevalence and severity of compassion fatigue (CF) risk among nurses employed in a large southwestern hospital system.

BACKGROUND Compassion fatigue is defined as multifaceted exhaustion stemming from untreated distress that leads to physical and emotional problems. Low morale, increased medication errors, and higher turnover can result.

METHODS A descriptive design was used to identify: 1) the prevalence and severity of CF risk among a sample of registered nurses; and 2) the differences in demographic characteristics correlated with CF risk.

RESULTS Forty-six percent of nurses reported moderate to high CF risk. Compassion fatigue risk was significantly associated with years of employment, unit worked, job changes, and use of sick days.

CONCLUSION This study reports new knowledge about compassion fatigue, established risk profiles across clinical units, and clarified optimal timing for interventions for those at the highest risk for CF.

Author Affiliations: Doctoral Candidate (Dr Wijdenes), University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona; Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (Dr Wijdenes), Currently United States Air Force, Biloxi, Mississippi; Professor and Director Community and Systems Health Science Division (Dr Badger); Clinical Associate Professor (Dr Sheppard), College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Disclosure: Dr Wijdenes was employed at Maricopa Integrated Health System as a staff RN at the time the research was conducted there.

Correspondence: Dr Wijdenes, United States Air Force, Biloxi, MS 39532 (;

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.