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

Tove Gustafsson , Jessica Hemberg

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review

Sammanfattning

Background:
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.

Aim:
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.

Findings:
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.

Discussion:
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.

Conclusion:
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.
OriginalspråkEngelska
Sidor (från-till)1-14
TidskriftNursing Ethics
StatusPublicerad - 20 jul 2021
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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