Date of Award

1-30-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Kelli Paquette, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Michele A. Gerwick, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Susan E. Fello, Ed.D.

Abstract

Nurses, who assume the role of educator, experience different levels of CS, CF, or BO regardless of their age, years of experience as an RN or nurse educator, the level at which they teach (undergraduate, masters, doctoral), their area of expertise, or the setting in which they teach their content (classroom, clinical lab, on-line). Compassion fatigue, and its subcomponents, burnout and secondary traumatic stress manifest themselves in the nurse as an experience of gradual diminishment in the capacity to care which is characterized by a deep emotional sense of exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of accomplishment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which nurse educators in academia experienced compassion fatigue (CF), compassion satisfaction (CS), and burnout (BO) across levels at which they teach (undergraduate, masters, doctoral), and to identify stressors unique to nursing academia which impact professional quality of life. This mixed-methods study explored differences in perceptions of CF, CS, and BO among a convenience sample of nursing faculty (N=46) who taught in 11 nursing programs in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) system at the baccalaureate, masters, and/or doctoral levels. Using data from responses to open- ended questions and by analyzing descriptive statistics from the Professional Quality of Life Scale Version 5 (ProQOL 5) survey, this study compared age groups, years as an RN, years as a nurse educator, and background expertise to levels CS, BO, and STS. Using multiple regression analyses, this investigation discovered that psychiatric nursing background expertise was the only area of expertise that was a statistically- significant predictor of CS only. Furthermore, regardless of the levels (undergraduate, masters, doctoral) taught at (career) and levels taught at (during the last 12 months), these parameters were not significant predictors of CS, BO, or STS. These study findings may be used to promote a better understanding of the perceptions of CS, CF, and BO in nurse faculty and enhance Professional Quality of Life in the context of nursing academia. Understanding the needs of this distinct group of nurse educators offers valuable insight into the development of a resilience plan that resists CF.

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