Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Matthew Burgess


The concept of compassion fatigue (CF) emerged in the early 1990s in North America to explain a phenomenon observed in nurses employed in emergency departments. A precursor to burnout, CF is a well-known phenomenon associated with emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and an inability to work effectively. In nurses, CF has been shown to reduce productivity, increase staff turnover and sick days, and lead to patient dissatisfaction and risks to patient safety. The aim of this study was to determine if the use of a Watson Room designated as a 'quiet zone' with warm colors on the wall, massage chair, and soothing sounds in the workplace environment, reduced CF in clinical nurses at the bedside in acute care settings. The data came from a survey of nurses (n = 19) working in a level 1 trauma center in an acute care setting. This quantitative study was conducted over a two week period. A single-group of nurses completed both a pre and post professional quality of life (ProQol) survey, a 30 item self-measurement of positive and negative aspects of caring. The ProQol operationalizes in three subcategories: compassion satisfaction (10 items), burnout (10 items), and CF (10 items). The ProQOL survey results showed statistically significant differences in the mean scores in all three categories. Paired samples t tests indicate the Watson Room proved to be successful in increasing compassion satisfaction (p = .009), decreasing burnout (p = .002), and decreasing secondary trauma/CF respectively (p = .02). This study shows the importance of nurses taking care of themselves while taking care of others. Understanding CF and devising and implementing interventions to address the subject are important for nurses and patients.

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