Date of Conferral







Leslie Hussey


Compassion fatigue (CF) is mental and emotional exhaustion that occurs over time in nurses who provide care to traumatized individuals and includes both secondary traumatic stress syndrome (STS) as well as burnout (BO), which results from being overwhelmed in the workplace. Emotional intelligence (EI) has shown to be helpful in nurses who work in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment, such as the emergency department. The purpose of this quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive study, guided by Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory, was to determine whether there were relationships (a) between EI and CF in emergency nurses, (b) between EI and STS in emergency nurses, and (c) between EI and BO in emergency nurses. The prevalence of CF among nurses and the consequences of CF, such as depression and emotional exhaustion, supported the salience of this study. Electronic surveys were used to collect data from 89 emergency nurses, which were then analyzed using simple linear regression. A significant relationship (a) between EI and CF was found (p < .001) with a moderative effect (R2 = .293), (b) between EI and STS (p < .003) with a small effect (R2 = .108), and (c) between EI and burnout (p < .001) with a moderative effect (R2 = .403). These results could impact positive social change by reducing the occurrence of CF and increasing EI, which could help reduce the devastating effects of CF, STS, and BO on nurses who work in the emergency department. Additionally, the results could help nurses provide a higher quality of care to their patients. To increase the generalizability of these findings, future research could focus on replication of this study in other nursing specialties as well as in different geographical areas.

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