Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Nurses experiencing compassion fatigue (CF) are emotionally exhausted, which contributes to decreased nurse retention and patient satisfaction. The focus of this project was to identify factors that contribute to CF. A systematic review was conducted to identify demographic factors that contribute to CF in the acute care setting, clarify the types of care situations that increase CF, and describe the social support networks of nursing units influencing CF. The review included peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2007 and 2018 that focused on registered nurses in the acute care setting. Using the grading of recommendation assessment development and evaluation format, 3 articles in Level of Evidence 1 and 11 articles in Level of Evidence 3 were included in this review. Findings showed that demographic factors such as age, gender, level of education, and years as a nurse contributed to CF. Care situations that contribute to CF include mixed-acuity-level patient units and an increase in administrative duties that are not directly related to patient care. A nursing unit's social support network has a direct impact on reducing CF: Units with peer support and respect have less CF, units with managers who are active and listen to staff have lower CF, and units with a change in management or nursing practice have higher levels of CF. Implications of this study for social change include approaches to help nurses balance care of patients and administrative tasks as well as creating education on factors that lead to CF. Interventions focused on promoting a working environment in which nurses' input is valued may prevent nurses from leaving their jobs or the nursing profession, which could improve patient satisfaction with nursing care.