1. Klim, Gudrun PhD, MA, RN, CNS
  2. Boyd, Kendal C. PhD
  3. Roberts, Lisa DrPH, RN, FNP-BC, CHES, FAANP, FAAN
  4. Taylor, Elizabeth Johnston PhD, RN, FAAN


Integral to holistic "big picture" nursing care is an empathy that strives for social justice. Social empathy requires more than technical skills or even interpersonal empathy or other-focus; it also requires a perspective that appreciates the impact of social determinants and seeks action to address them. This study sought to measure social empathy and potentially associated demographic, personal, and work-related factors among nurses. This cross-sectional, observational study used online survey methods to collect data from 614 registered nurses employed in a faith-based health care system in the northwestern United States. Constructs measured included social empathy, social advocacy, self-compassion, emotional exhaustion, and trust/mistrust in God. Parametric statistical tests, including multiple logistic regression, allowed analyses. Findings indicated that social empathy was high in this sample. Younger nurses, those more inclined to advocate, those more self-compassionate, those less burned out, those working part-time (in contrast only with those working overtime), and those with at least a baccalaureate degree in nursing were more socially empathic. Findings highlight further rationale for creating healthy work environments that foster self-compassion and minimize burnout.