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Award-Winning Navicent Health Study Focuses on Compassion Fatigue

Study Finds Educational Interventions can Address, Improve Fatigue and Burnout Among Emergency Workers

Atrium Health Navicent is pleased to announce that a research study, conducted at The Medical Center, Navicent Health (MCNH) has received first place among other research studies presented at Emory Healthcare's 2018 New Directions in Nursing Research and Evidence-based Practice Conference. The study, "Creating a Balance Between Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue: An Educational Intervention," focused on addressing compassion fatigue and burnout among emergency care providers.

Compassion fatigue, a condition related to secondary exposure to extremely stressful events in the workplace, is a recognized occupational hazard for healthcare providers, particularly those who frequently work with trauma and emergency care. The condition has been linked to physical, emotional and psychological symptoms that may cause healthcare providers to leave the profession. In late 2017, a research team from MCNH - comprised of clinical nurses, therapists, researchers and educators - sought to achieve a better understanding of compassion fatigue and its effects, and to determine effective intervention and prevention strategies

This longitudinal research study invited all Emergency Center care providers to complete an initial "Professional Quality of Life" (ProQOL) survey. Questions included demographic information - such as age, tenure and average number of hours worked per week - as well as a ProQOL questionnaire that asked respondents to rate the various dimensions of compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue and burnout. The research team then provided education on the recognition and prevention of compassion fatigue. Counselors, educators and members of the research team worked with Emergency Center staff to provide strategies for stress management, self-care and resilience. Printed information with these strategies were also provided to the participants.

"Our goal was to establish the prevalence of compassion fatigue, to determine contributing factors and to evaluate the effects of an educational intervention. We also sought to determine if there was a difference in the fatigue scores between nurses and other care providers," said Mary Hoey, DNP, nurse researcher with Center for Disruption and Innovation, Atrium Health Navicent.

Emergency Center care providers were asked to complete a second survey after six months. Findings from the first data set showed that the overall Emergency Center staff levels of compassion fatigue were lower than those of similar studies that used the ProQOL survey. Healthcare providers in the Millennial generation exhibited higher levels of compassion fatigue and burnout than their counterparts in the Baby Boomer and GenX generations. Participants also reported that the educational component of the study increased their awareness of compassion fatigue and burnout, and provided them with strategies to limit the effects.

"This research study is unique in that multidisciplinary healthcare providers were invited to participate. The causes of compassion fatigue and burnout are multidimensional and have direct implications for the care provider, the patient and the organization. As the complexity of healthcare continues to increase, healthcare providers will continue to feel the strain of compassion fatigue and burnout. We are so pleased that this study was recognized as best in class at Emory Healthcare's conference. Our hope is that healthcare leaders will actively work to address compassion fatigue and assist healthcare providers in considering professional quality of life," said Johnny Williams, nurse director for the Emergency Center at MCNH.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent was incorporated on November 17, 1994, as a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to coordinate The Medical Center, Navicent Health and other affiliated entities in their mission of providing a comprehensive continuum of high quality, reasonably priced healthcare services to the region. Atrium Health Navicent has 970 beds for medical, surgical, rehabilitation and hospice purposes. The health system includes The Medical Center, Navicent Health, a nationally recognized tertiary teaching hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital, the region's only dedicated pediatric hospital; Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin and Medical Center of Peach County, Atrium Health Navicent, both rural hospitals; Rehabilitation Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent, the region's oldest and most experienced rehabilitation provider; Pine Pointe, Atrium Health Navicent, which provides palliative and hospice care in homes and in its facility; Carlyle Place, Atrium Health Navicent, the area's first continuing care retirement community; Navicent Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Atrium Health Navicent; as well as diagnostic and home care services. For more information, please visit