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Addiction Nursing, Compassion Fatigue, Compassion Satisfaction, Emotional Work, Secondary Posttraumatic Stress



  1. Missouridou, Evdokia PhD, RN
  2. Karavasopoulou, Athena BS
  3. Psycharakis, Alexandra BS
  4. Segredou, Eirini MD, PhD


Abstract: The risk of compassion fatigue (CF) for professionals who support and care for individuals and families facing the dual burden of addiction and trauma has been recently recognized. The aim of this mixed methods study was to investigate CF/secondary traumatic stress and compassion satisfaction (CS) in addiction nursing care providers. The Professional Quality of Life Scale was distributed to 21 addiction nurses and 29 nurse assistants in the alcohol and drug dependency centers of a psychiatric hospital in Greece. High CF risk was reported in 22% of participants, whereas 46% expressed high-to-moderate potential for CS. Participants described the long transition from compassion frustration or disengagement at the beginning of their career to CS at later stages. Learning to be compassionate entailed finding the right distance, redefining therapeutic role and expectations, and containing feelings and experiences. Being able to experience CS involved getting satisfaction from small changes, personal and professional growth, and self-care. A compassionate organizational culture, clinical supervision, and ongoing education may protect addiction professionals from absorbing or internalizing unmanageable emotions, which may lead to CF and also help them to gain a deeper understanding of their communication and interactions with individuals fighting addiction.