Exploring Compassion Fatigue Among Mental Health Providers in Community-Based Outpatient Organizations
AuthorMcGillem, Misty Autumn
mental health providers
secondary traumatic stress
AdvisorSheppard, Kate G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBackground: Providing care to individuals with multifaceted mental health needs can be very demanding and in turn leave mental health professionals at an increased risk for compassion fatigue (CF). Comprised of Burnout (BO), Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS), and a lack of Compassion Satisfaction (CS), CF is the state of exhaustion and dysfunction, emotionally, biologically, and physiologically, due to prolonged exposure to compassion stress. CF can leave healthcare providers at an increased risk for experiencing their own health issues, contributing to tardiness and absenteeism, as well as increasing the risks for such adverse effects as clinical and medication errors, poor treatment planning, and decreased patient satisfaction. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify the risk factors for CF and describe the perceptions of CF among outpatient mental health providers employed in urban community-based mental health outpatient organization. Method and Sampling: A qualitative descriptive study design utilizing two focus groups, each having four participants was conducted to assess outpatient mental health providers’perceptions of CF. Purposeful sampling of current providers in two community-based mental health outpatient organizations was performed to protect the privacy and enhance the comfort of each participant as they discussed elements of CF. Findings: Five themes were identified from the focus group analysis: the participant’s perceived definition of CF, participant perceptions of prevalence of CF in the mental health setting, participant perceptions regarding the triggers, perceived participant causes of CF, and self-care practices. These results reflect data collected in a mental health setting however, the findings are consistent with current research contributed from other specialties. Conclusion: Personal descriptions of the experiences and insights of these providers expand the current CF literature and will contribute to the development of quality improvement projects committed to reducing compassion fatigue among outpatient mental health providers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College