Compassion Fatigue among Nurses: The Cost of Having a Relationship with HIV-Positive Patients release_4i73qcm4prayzddo25is77ttam

by Mercia Jane Tellie

Published in Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery by UNISA Press.

2020   Volume 22


In the public healthcare sector in South Africa, nurses treat a large number of patients who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on an outpatient basis. Many patients consult the nurses only when they experience symptoms due to the delayed onset of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. The large number of patients and often poor outcome of treatment could result in compassion fatigue in the nurses. The aim of the current study was to describe the cost of having a relationship with HIV-positive patients on nurses who work in outpatient ARV clinics. A qualitative, single, embedded case study design was used, and six registered nurses (RNs) and one enrolled nurse (EN) were individually interviewed. The data analysis revealed two themes, namely: (1) the risk of developing compassion fatigue; and (2) the manifestation of compassion fatigue. The themes were discussed with reference to the extant literature. Many research reports have focused on compassion fatigue in nurses in hospital-based settings, but few on the manifestation of compassion fatigue in nurses who work in outpatient settings. The authors concluded that nurses who take care of HIV-positive patients on an outpatient basis are at risk of developing and do manifest compassion fatigue, and it is thus recommended that programmes be instituted to support them.
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Date   2020-11-16
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