Empathy Fatigue

The purpose of this research project is to educate about compassion fatigue and to develop methods for the prevention of compassion fatigue in the nursing profession. Compassion fatigue occurs when nurses develop declining empathetic ability from repeated exposure to others suffering. This can result in high turnover rates, nurse burnout, and a lack of patient satisfaction. A literature search was conducted using electronic databases: CINAHL Complete, NCSBN and EMBASE. The evidence includes a Meta-regression analyses which identify factors that may perpetuate these burnout rates. The evidence found that empathy fatigue occurs across many disciplines. Nurses experience compassion fatigue due to demanding environments, overwhelming exposure to suffering, and the consistent demand to give. The consequences of compassion fatigue negatively affect all aspects of healthcare. All nurses are at risk for compassion fatigue. The prevention of compassion fatigue can be achieved through self awareness, self care measures, professional boundaries and education on the concept at both the individual and organizational level. Therefore, an evidence based educational session was developed for nurses in a Springfield area hospital in an effort to begin that educational process on self-care.