Original Article| Volume 18, ISSUE 4, P171-179, July 2004

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Compassion fatigue and burnout in nurses who work with children with chronic conditions and their families



      With the current and ever-growing shortage of nurses in the United States, it is imperative that nurses find ways to prevent burnout and effectively manage compassion fatigue that can result from working with traumatized populations. The aim of this study is to identify the triggers and coping strategies that nurses who work with children with chronic conditions use to manage compassion fatigue and prevent burnout.


      In this descriptive qualitative pilot project, 20 experienced nurses who work with children with chronic conditions were interviewed about their experiences with compassion fatigue and burnout.


      Findings indicate that compassion fatigue is commonly and episodically experienced by nurses working with children with chronic conditions and their families. Participants reported that insight and experience helped them develop short- and long-term coping strategies to minimize and manage compassion fatigue episodes and prevent burnout.


      Nurses need to be able to identify signs of compassion fatigue and develop a range of coping strategies and a support system to revitalize their compassion and minimize the risk of burnout.
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