Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Mary Alice Hodge


Aim: The purpose of this capstone project was to determine the prevalence of compassion fatigue among emergency department nurses. Background: Healthcare workers especially nurses working in high acuity areas are at high risk for developing compassion fatigue, burnout, and secondary stress. A concern is nurses working in the emergency department are at risk for developing compassion fatigue and should be aware of the concept, self-care activities, and available resources to improve compassion satisfaction scores and to reduce the effects of compassion fatigue burnout, and secondary stress on nurses' working in stressful environments. Method: The project was carried out at a large urban emergency department in a Level Two Trauma Center located in the Southeast United States. A total of 24 nurses working full time in the emergency department completed a one hour education module and a Pro QOL version, V Stamm (2009) questionnaire, (100%) of nurses completed the education module and questionnaire. Findings: The nurses who chose to participate in this project completed the 30-item Pro QOL (Stamm, 2009) and self-scored as part of the education session. Raw scores were converted by the project administrator to t-scores after the education sessions using the raw score to t-score conversion table published by Stamm (2009) in the Pro QOL manual. Average to high compassion satisfaction was reported by 87.5% of respondents, while all participants reported average to high burnout and average to high secondary trauma stress. High burnout was reported by 29.2% of participants and high secondary trauma by 91.7% of participants. Male subjects reported higher levels of burnout and secondary stress than was reported by the female subjects. Compassion satisfaction mean score was 53.25 (S.D. 9.07), burnout mean score was 53.54 (S.D. 5.43), and secondary trauma mean score was 65.83 (S.D. 6.87). There was no significant correlation between years of experience as a nurse and years of experience as an emergency department nurse on three different variables compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary trauma experienced by emergency department nurses. There was a significant correlation in gender. Male subjects reported higher t-scores than female respondent with burnout and secondary stress.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.