Preventing and Alleviating Compassion Fatigue Through Self-Care: An Educational Workshop for Nurses

J Holist Nurs. 2018 Dec;36(4):304-317. doi: 10.1177/0898010117721581. Epub 2017 Aug 2.


Though various authors have refined and described the concept of compassion fatigue (CF), the overarching features, predisposing factors, and potential consequences remain relatively consistent. Available literature demonstrates that caregivers caring for patients who are chronically ill and/or traumatized are at highest risk for developing CF. Potential consequences for unmitigated CF include physical, emotional, and work-related consequences, all of which can have negative effects on the quality and safety of care and degree of engagement with one's employer. CF is further exacerbated by exposure to cumulative, unresolved stress and neglect of one's own emotional needs over time. Caregivers must be knowledgeable on CF's risk factors, symptoms, and management strategies to decrease its incidence and negative impacts. This article details the creation, execution, and evaluation of an evidence-based practice change project implemented with the goal of increasing knowledge needed to prevent, identify, and alleviate CF in high-risk nurses. The project involved a series of educational workshops containing information on CF's risk factors, symptoms, and consequences, with a strong emphasis on self-awareness, self-care, and stress management. Pre- and postknowledge tests showed a significant increase in knowledge was achieved via the workshops, and qualitative surveys indicated a high level of participant satisfaction with the program contents, format, and impact.

Keywords: caring; educators; grief/loss/suffering; health and wellness coaching; meditation/mindfulness; nurses; stress and coping; stress management/relaxation; trauma/posttrauma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control*
  • Compassion Fatigue*
  • Female
  • Holistic Nursing
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires