Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctor of Nursing Practice Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Dr. Alice Swan


Doctor of Nursing Practice


The foundation of the profession of nursing is caring. Nurses have led in Gallup polls as the most trusted profession in both honesty and ethical standards (Riffkin, 2014). This rating has been true every year since their inclusion to the survey in 1999 except in 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks, when firefighters were named the most trusted profession (Riffkin, 2014). The public’s trust is well-founded.

Nurses provide care for patients, families, and communities during times of stress, acute and chronic illness, trauma, and end-of-life in diverse environments. Nurses seek to form a relationship of trust whether in the home or in highly specialized intensive care units. They advocate, educate, and implement strategies to promote health (American Nurses Association, 2015). Nurses have the opportunity as well as the burden of interacting with others when they are the most vulnerable. They are expected to provide personalized, holistic patient-centered care that is both age and culturally appropriate. Providing care to meet the unique needs of

patients who face difficult situations is a stressful reality within a nurse’s scope of practice.

Nurses witness the pain, trauma, and suffering of others. It is not unusual for a nurse to provide care for an individual who is at end-of-life and then transition to care for a patient who has recently returned from surgery. They work in highly technical environments where change is constant.

Workplace violence is a growing concern with studies showing alarming rates of physical and verbal violence. The Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN) noted that workplace violence injury rates almost doubled for nurses between the years 2012 to 2014 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

Nurses must also meet increasing quality and regulatory standards. Long hours led to fatigue at times when units may also be short-staffed (National Patient Safety Foundation, 2013). Nurses understand care can impact patient satisfaction and readmission rates – both which have financial consequences for hospitals. Regardless of the workplace environment, nurses are expected to provide compassionate, patient-centered care in a way that best meets the needs of the patient. Caring for patients represents a polarity. Nurses are called to care for others. Yet the very nature of the work nurses do can place them at risk for compassion fatigue. Developing strategies to address compassion fatigue may improve the nurse’s ability to be more successful both personally and professionally. The literature was examined to better understand compassion fatigue among nurses as well as strategies being used to reduce its effect on professional practice.