Burnout and compassion fatigue in emergency care nurses: factors that influence development

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Burgess, Niamh
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Emergency care nurses are highly susceptible to burnout and compassion fatigue. The aim of this study was to examine burnout and compassion fatigue in Irish emergency care nurses and the role of possible risk factors. A single method correlational design was employed comprising of quantitative data. Measures included; the Professional Quality of Life Scale (Stamm, 2009) which analysed compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue (burnout and secondary traumatic stress), the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (Spreng et al. 2009) and the Coping Self- Efficacy scale (Chesney et al. 2006). Purposive sampling acquired a sample (N= 70) of 61 females and 9 males. Findings indicate that Irish emergency care nurses are exposed to the risk of burnout and compassion fatigue. Exposure to secondary traumatic stress posed as a serious risk factor in the development of burnout and compassion fatigue while empathy, compassion satisfaction and coping self- efficacy where found to act as protectors against these criterion variables (burnout and compassion fatigue). Discussion, suggestions and limitations of the study are addressed.