Prof. Kristin Shargots
Dr. Lisa Jamerson
Dr. Laura Kicklighter
Compassion fatigue is prevalent in all nursing settings; however, it is particularly important to consider in pediatric nursing because of the unique aspects of this nursing speciality. Compassion fatigue, comprised of burnout and secondary traumatic stress, is a risk to pediatric patients due to the nurse’s inability to care adequately secondary to the overwhelming feelings of physical and mental exhaustion contributing to nursing attrition and inadequate nurse-to-patient ratios. This thesis applies Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring to study the problem of compassion fatigue in pediatric nursing. Compassion fatigue must be recognized and managed, and the necessary interventions employed to mitigate nursing attrition. Understanding the prevalence of compassion fatigue, the coping mechanisms in place, and the interventions against compassion fatigue provide insight on how to prevent compassion fatigue in nurses and promote resilience. Current recommendations to reduce compassion fatigue in bedside pediatric nurses include appropriate debriefings after traumatic shifts, having management in place to promote resilience and education of compassion fatigue and burnout, creating interventions for the stressors of care, appropriate time off from work, orientation and annual education programs, and collaboration within the whole unit to help protect against the negative feelings of compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is causing nurses to develop burnout and leave the field, therefore it is imperative that nurses and organizations work together to omit compassion fatigue.
Nagy, Annabelle, "When Helping Becomes Hurting: Compassion Fatigue in Pediatric Nurses" (2022). Undergraduate Theses and Capstone Projects. 248.