burnout, compassion fatigue, medically complex children, nursing



  1. Bleazard, Mark MSN, APRN, ACCNS-P, CPN


The number of children living with chronic, complex medical needs is steadily increasing secondary to advances in clinical technology and disease management. As a result, patient care requirements become multifaceted with the need for specific therapies and treatments that require extensive knowledge and skills. As these children are managed throughout the health care continuum, nurses are challenged to offer specialized care for complex conditions, while meeting the personnel and financial demands of the changing health care environment. It is well established that medically complex children can put a burden on family life, resulting in compassion fatigue for nonclinical caregivers. It is possible that, secondary to frequent and lengthy hospitalizations, nurses may also be affected. Therefore, a review of compassion fatigue or professional burnout in nurses caring for medically complex children was conducted. Appropriate identification of nurses at risk for compassion fatigue is imperative to provide the necessary interventions and support. Reducing compassion fatigue is likely to improve outcomes, including nursing turnover, nursing professional engagement, and job satisfaction, thus improving the care delivery experience for children with complex conditions.