Compassion fatigue among rns working in skilled nursing facilities

Marlene M. Steinheiser, Janice D. Crist, Kimberly D. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Nurses employed in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are at risk for developing compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue negatively impacts patient outcomes and is associated with decreased quality of care. Some nurses leave the profession due to compassion fatigue. There are no published studies in the United States focused on compassion fatigue among SNF nurses. The purpose of this interpretive phenomenological study was to identify the shared meanings of compassion fatigue among RNs caring for residents in SNFs. Shared meanings among participants were identified as: (1) I feel conflicted, which causes my compassion fatigue; (2) I feel physical and emotional manifestations of compassion fatigue; (3) Compassion fatigue is infused in every aspect of my life; and (4) We are trying to cope with compassion fatigue. Of paramount importance was the desire to make a difference in the lives of residents. Three participants sought employment outside the SNF setting due to compassion fatigue. Further research and education are needed to improve knowledge, policy, and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Gerontological Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Gerontology
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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