The Experience of Compassion Fatigue in Taiwanese Nurses

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Chia-yun Fu, MS
Nursing department, Yuan`s General Hospital, Kaoshiung, Taiwan
Hsing-Mei Chen, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: know about the characterof compassion in Taiwanses nurses.

Learning Objective 2: understand the factors associated with the develpoed of compassion fatigue.

Background: Compassion Fatigue (CF) causes some detrimental effects among nurses who accumulated experiences with patients suffering from pain, trauma, and death. These events may cause nurses to feel helpless, hopeless, or indifferent with their patients. Providing compassionate care is fundamental to good quality of nursing care.

Purpose: This ongoing study is to explore the experience of CF among Taiwanese nurses.
Methods: This qualitative study uses a phenomenological method to describe the CF in Taiwanese nurses. A convenience sample of 12 to 20 Taiwanese nurses is planned to recruit from a general hospital located in southern Taiwan from November 2009 to May 2010.The study is using face-to-face interviews to collect data, and all interviews are audiotape-recorded and subsequently transcribed verbatim. A semi-structured interview guide with 11 probe questions is used to guide the interview. A combination of Colazzi`s approach and Ricoeur`s structural analysis is used to analyze the context and patterns in the text and to support understanding from the multiple readings.

Results: The study has finished three interviews and two analyses of the transcripts so far. However, these two nurses have provided some information about the characteristics of compassion and factors contributing to the development of compassion fatigue. The characteristics of compassion include empathy, having willing to devotion oneself, and an emotion committing to action. Factors associated with the development of compassion fatigue are: 1) lack of emotional resilience; 2) lack of support from colleagues; 3) helplessness caused by the patients’ death and suffering; 4) personal life events; 5) lack of self-confidence in providing professional care.

Conclusion: Major themes and categories will be revised after the completion of this study. Issues regarding the characteristics and factors associated with compassion fatigue in Taiwanese nurses will be discussed. Strategies to minimize compassion fatigue will be proposed.