The moral anguish that leads to nurse desensitization in compassion fatigue can impact the nurse's ability to establish authentic relationships with COVID-19 patients. Sandelowski, M. (1986). Some participants lost interest in engaging in social activities and even isolated themselves from family or friends. Francis, J. J., Johnston, M., Robertson, C., Glidewell, L., Entwistle, V., Eccles, M. P. & Grimshaw, J. M. (2010). KRISTYN KEGERREIS is a registered nurse at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Some nurses leave the profession due to compassion fatigue. Huskamp, H. A., Kaufman, C. & Stevenson, D. G. (2012). For example, there may be ways to safely store common care supplies in patient rooms. In addition to supporting nurses on the floor and in the COVID units, what can schools of nursing do to ensure that curriculum better prepares the emerging nurse work force for this and future pandemics? As a result, nurses caring for COVID-19 patients are at high risk for experiencing compassion fatigue. Koch, T. (1996).
Participants used the term “shutting down” when they described how symptoms of compassion fatigue impacted their home life and when they avoided initiating social encounters.
Participants volunteered experiences with some physical symptoms of compassion fatigue. Her inability to make a difference was related to the resident's inevitable disease progression or work constraints, such as limited staffing ratios and resident care resources, or lack of management support. The increased time for responding to and conducting rapid responses or code blues can demoralize a nurse, particularly when the patient does not survive the event. As a result of these conflicted feelings, participants described physical and emotional symptoms of compassion fatigue, such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances, sadness, and emotional exhaustion. In most cases, the continual sadness was normalized as an inherent part of nursing.
1. By journaling and reviewing the journal throughout the data collection and analysis process, the researcher remained open to exploring data that were not originally part of her assumptions. 2. Interpretation/analysis methods in hermeneutic interpretive phenomenology. Compassion satisfaction is defined as the positive feelings related to helping another person and is vital to motivating an individual to help others (Figley, 2002). All participants expressed the paramount need to make a difference in the lives of residents with nursing care and shared that any impediments to this caused emotional conflict.
As a new nurse, Ferrell found herself questioning whether caring for this population was truly the root cause of burnout, as many seemed to believe. But it's draining when I lose them.”. The researcher's dissertation chairperson contributed during the data analysis process by reviewing participants' audiotaped interviews, the researcher's journals, and the interview transcripts to help guide the researcher in development of themes. As oncology units, like the one Ferrell worked on, were just getting started, the challenging nature of providing care solely for patients with cancer soon became apparent. Participants also formed a connection when they cared for some residents for a long period of time, and frequently the source of sadness was feeling lack of closure when the resident died. Compassion fatigue differs from burnout in that it results from emotional agony rather than daily administrative stressors. Finally, an emotional support system should be available to the RNs that would help them learn about compassion fatigue and identify ways to prevent it. The limited number of response team members may lengthen the time to administer oxygen therapy and medications needed to ideally convert the patient's critical status to a stable condition. Accessed July 5, 2020. As we learned more about the virus, hospitals adapted their protocols to limit its transmission and to prevent hospital-acquired infections of COVID-19. This shared meaning represented how compassion fatigue impacted overall quality of life at work and at home. Washington, DC 20006 Participants described feeling frustrated by wanting to provide residents with optimal care while lacking the time or resources to provide that care. Reported symptoms were sleep disturbances, weight loss or gain, loss of energy, headaches, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Data collection and analysis were an iterative process (i.e., between interviews, data analysis included reflection upon field notes and interview transcriptions to formulate understanding of participants' experiences, directing lines of inquiry for subsequent interviews). Ariapooran, S. (2014). Although nurses do their best to educate family during phone conversations, their ability to interact with family is limited by distance and/or time. Subsequently, many nurses worry that they are not providing adequate individualized holistic attention to their patients that could result in the neglect of spiritual and/or mental health needs. As a result, nurses experience difficulty in developing authentic relationships with the patients that would allow them to identify significant changes in behavior related to spiritual or mental health needs. Management and nursing staff should be encouraged to determine methods for grieving and closure that fit their needs. For example, many hospitals prohibit keeping care supplies in patient rooms to minimize cross-contamination of the virus. Compassion fatigue differs from burnout in that it results from emotional agony rather than daily administrative stressors. All participants were female. The improved ability to support the emotional and physical well-being of nurses can help mitigate compassion fatigue and subsequently improve the delivery of quality care to patients diagnosed with COVID-19. In addition, because biases from one's history form one's consciousness, which makes it impossible to separate one's histories to be objective, the researcher journaled prior to and throughout the simultaneous data collection and data analysis to understand personal feelings, the effect of these feelings on emerging findings, and to incorporate this understanding in the research study findings (Fleming et al., 2003).
Findings from the current research study address this gap in the literature by providing a qualitative study with the purpose of understanding the experiences of RNs who care for older adults in SNFs and factors that contribute to compassion fatigue. Several participants described antecedents and symptoms of compassion fatigue but did not initially self-identify with the term compassion fatigue. The projected sample ranged from eight to 12 participants. Other methods used to cope with compassion fatigue were “sleeping it away,” music, journaling, massage, meditation, and coloring. Although compassion fatigue and its consequences have been described in the literature as reported above, the literature review revealed that no studies inclusive of compassion fatigue within gerontological nursing in SNFs have been conducted. And I thought I was the only one. Conclusion: All nurses are at risk for compassion fatigue.
The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise. Another potential limitation is that all participants were female, and all were drawn from a relatively small geographic area, possibly limiting transferability of findings (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Generic qualitative research in psychology. Nurses experiencing any of these situations can experience an array of emotions ranging from anxiety to fear because they cannot practice nursing according to their ethical and professional standards. Dr. Steinheiser is Director of Clinical Education, Infusion Nurses Society, Norwood, Massachusetts; and Dr. Crist is Associate Professor, and Dr. Shea is Clinical Associate Professor, College of Nursing, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. Most participants listed the challenges of low staffing; the high level of residents' cognitive, emotional, and physical needs; and lack of management support as inhibitors to their ability to provide safe patient care leading to feelings of compassion fatigue. Acceleration in the care of older adults: New demands as predictors of employee burnout and engagement. LIFE-THREATENING PATIENT EVENTS (Ed.). One participant described caring for residents with dementia. The study purpose, intent for outcomes, and recruitment flyer were discussed. Data analysis moved from the whole to the part and back to the whole (Fleming et al., 2003). Accessed July 5, 2020.
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