Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Barbara Niedz


Compassion fatigue (CF), also known as secondary traumatic stress (STS), impacts critical care nurses (CCN) through exposure to pain, suffering, and loss of those for whom they provide care and results in a reduction of compassion satisfaction (CS). High incidence of CF and turnover (TO) rates at the project site were identified among CCNs. The institution's CCN TO rate was at 81% in comparison to peers in other areas at 29%–35%. The practice-focused question asked whether leadership education on CF might ameliorate CF at the project site. The purpose of the Doctor of Nursing Practice project was to reduce the incidence of CF and TO among CCN through leadership education. Watson's theory of human caring was used as a framework. Two hundred twenty-nine CCNs completed the Professional Quality of Life survey that measures CS, STS, and burnout (BO). Comparison of 28 nursing leaders' pretest scores to posttest scores indicated a statistically significant improvement (z = -4.625, p < .001) and knowledge acquisition. BO and CF taken together explained 86% (adjusted R2 = .86) of the variance in CS (F [2, 227] = 691.33, p < .001). Identifying the nursing units with the highest CF scores and providing CF education to the leadership provides a path to reduce turnover and provide needed support to CCNs, a positive social change.

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