Compassion fatigue as bruises in the soul - a qualitative study on nurses

Tove Gustafsson , Jessica Hemberg

Tutkimustuotos: LehtiartikkeliArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu

29 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


Nurses who are constantly being exposed to patients’ suffering can lead to compassion fatigue. There is a gap in the latest research regarding nurses’ experiences of compassion fatigue. Little is known about how compassion fatigue affects the nurse as a person, and indications of how it affects the profession are scarce.

The aim of this study was to explore compassion fatigue experienced by nurses and how it affects them as persons and professionals.

Research design, participants, and research context:
A qualitative explorative approach was used. The data consisted of texts from interviews with seven nurses in various nursing contexts. Content analysis was used.

Ethical consideration:
Ethical approval was sought and granted from an ethics committee at the university where the researchers were based, and written, informed consent was obtained from all the participants.

Five themes were discovered: Compassion as an empathic gift and compassion fatigue as a result of compassion overload, Compassion fatigue as exhausting the nurse as a professional and private person, Compassion fatigue as a crisis with potentially valuable insights, Compassion fatigue can be handled by self-care and focus on self, and Compassion fatigue is affected by life itself and multifaceted factors.

Compassion stress and overload can lead to compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue affects the nurse’s ability to compassion, and the caring is no longer experienced in the same way; the nurses experienced it as being deprived of the gift of compassion. Compassion fatigue implicates a crisis with potentially valuable insights.

Compassion fatigue can be symbolized as bruises in the soul, hurtful, but with time it can fade away, although it leaves a sense of caution within the nurse, which can affect the suffering patient.
JulkaisuNursing Ethics
TilaJulkaistu - 20 heinäk. 2021
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu


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