Emergency Nurses May Be at High Risk for Burnout

Compassion fatigue and burnout are both common in this group
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Many emergency nurses report moderate to high levels of burnout and compassion fatigue, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Crystal Hooper, R.N., of the AnMed Health Medical Center in Anderson, S.C., and colleagues surveyed emergency nurses and nurses from three other specialty units (oncology, nephrology, and intensive care) about compassion satisfaction, burnout, and compassion fatigue to determine the prevalence of those factors and the potential effect of high demands on the staff-provided care.

The researchers found moderate to high levels of burnout to be reported by 82 percent of emergency nurses; nearly 86 percent reported moderate to high compassion fatigue. Intensive care nurses were at higher risk for burnout, oncology nurses appeared at risk for higher compassion fatigue, and emergency nurses reflected a risk for less compassion satisfaction, but these differences were not statistically significant.

"Emergency department nurse managers, along with other nurse leaders, are faced with the competing demands of managing the satisfaction of patients, recruitment and retention of experienced nurses, and provision of quality and safe care customized to patients needs and preferences," the authors write. "Understanding the concepts of compassion satisfaction, burnout, and compassion fatigue, recognizing the signs and symptoms, and identifying best practice interventions, will help nurses maintain caring attitudes with patients and contribute to patient satisfaction."

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