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compassion fatigue, COVID-19, debriefing, hospice, pandemic



  1. Knott, Holly DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
  2. Dambrino, Kathryn L. DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
  3. Busby, Steven PhD, FNP-BC
  4. Rasmussen, Amy DNP, APRN, FNP-BC


Although the hospice industry cannot afford to lose professionals to compassion fatigue and burnout, work challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic potentially place hospice professionals at an increased risk. Reflective debriefing has been recommended to provide emotional support to battle job dissatisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout. The purpose of this study was to provide reflective debriefing sessions to hospice professionals and identify common themes reported about their professional and personal experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. A qualitative descriptive design using focus groups set up as reflective debriefing sessions based on the Gibbs' Reflective Cycle was used. Debriefing sessions were recorded and transcribed for coding, followed by identification of themes. A total of 26 themes emerged from the data collected from the debriefing sessions. A postsurvey found that 96.0% of participants found the debriefing session helpful. Furthermore, 92.3% of participants answered they would like to regularly debrief at their workplace. During the pandemic, hospice professionals are at an increased risk of compassion fatigue and burnout from changes in the work, patient, and person environments caused by the pandemic. To address the unprecedented challenges hospice professionals are facing, it is imperative that employers provide them with emotional support.