Critical care nurses are often exposed to psychologically taxing conditions while delivering life-sustaining care to critically ill patients and their families. Compassion fatigue, a consequence of repetitive exposures to psychologically taxing clinical conditions, has significant detrimental effects on critical care nurses, health care organizations, and the quality of care received by critically ill patients. Characterized as a psychological and physiological response to repetitive and chronic intrapersonal and secondary traumatic stressors, compassion fatigue is suspected to be counterbalanced through recognition of positive aspects of the delivery of nursing care and through organizational characteristics such as the implementation of a meaningful recognition program. Meaningful recognition programs may serve as an organizational strategy that attenuates compassion fatigue and improves compassion satisfaction, changes that are likely to enhance nurse retention and the delivery of high-quality nursing care.

The authors of this EBR conducted a descriptive study to...

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