Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Date Information

April 2016


School of Nursing

First Advisor

Robin Leger


The incidence of compassion fatigue is increasing among healthcare workers especially those who do not know what compassion fatigue is and have not developed healthy ways to cope with compassion fatigue. Unfamiliarity with compassion fatigue stems back to nursing school. Research has been done on what compassion fatigue is, its causes and coping mechanisms but there is limited research as to how compassion fatigue effects students or whether or not nursing school prepares students on how to combat compassion fatigue in high stress or difficult situations.

The intended purpose of this study is to evaluate the risk factors of compassion fatigue in undergraduate nursing students and their preparedness to deal with compassion fatigue as novice nurses.

Methods: The study was set up as a quantitative study of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior undergraduate nursing students in the Salem State University Nursing Program. The ten-question survey contained questions related to demographics, risk factors for compassion fatigue and preparedness.

Results: Data was analyzed using SPSS. Of the 607 possible BSN students, 105 (18%) BSN students completed the survey. 0% of students reported having no stress while 67.7% of students reported having an above average to extreme stress. 43.2% of BSN students reported frequently or constantly being preoccupied with the stressors of others. 73.3% of students reported that they had never heard of the term compassion fatigue. 96.2% of students reported that they do not frequently take time to wind down and reflect after a stressful situation.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the research clearly demonstrates that students are in need of further education regarding the risk of compassion fatigue and how to better prepare themselves. The undergraduate nursing student's reported having several risk factors already in place including high stress and ineffective coping. They also reported being unprepared to deal with challenging situations involving patients.