Strategies to mitigate and manage compassion fatigue amongst Nurses working in Antiretroviral (arv) Clinics: exploration of literature

Unified Nursing Research, Midwifery & Women’s Health Journal
Volume 1, Issue 1, June 2020, Pages: 12-20
Received: Mar. 17, 2020; Accepted: Apr. 17, 2020; Published: Apr. 27, 2020

Authors: Dr. Mercia Jane Tellie, University of South Africa.



Nurses who work in the HIV field care for large numbers of HIV-positive patients. The demanding nature of the care needed by HIV-positive patients causes nurses to become physically and emotionally exhausted, resulting in an increase in nurses’ vulnerability to develop compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation of nurses with the suffering of those in their care and can negatively impact on nurses’ health. The key to the prevention of compassion fatigue is awareness and various strategies to manage compassion fatigue are described in the literature. Compassion fatigue affects the individual’s health, family, work performance, relationship with employers, and the ability to provide empathetic care – hence the need to prevent and manage it.

The objective of this paper is to describe strategies to mitigate and manage compassion fatigue. The search for literature from articles was guided by search terms, namely: compassion fatigue, compassion fatigue prevention, and management strategies were conducted using the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PubMed, Google Scholar, and Ebscohost and included English language articles published in peer-reviewed journals between 2008 and June 2018. The selected articles were reviewed and synthesized for this paper. The preliminary search identified 50 articles, of which 29 met the inclusion criteria. However, manual searching of the reference list of articles was undertaken to search for additional articles that would fit the inclusion criteria. Various strategies to prevent and manage compassion fatigue were described in selected articles, including, Accelerated Recovery Program (ARP), bereavement support, debriefing, psychological support, mindfulness-based training, resiliency programmes, and self-care.

Keywords: Accelerated Recovery Programme, bereavement support, compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, debriefing, mindfulness-based training, resilience, self-care

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To citation of this article: Dr. Mercia Jane Tellie, Strategies to mitigate and manage compassion fatigue amongst Nurses working in Antiretroviral (arv) Clinics: an exploration of literature, Unified Nursing Research, Midwifery & Women’s Health Journal


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