Nurses in surgical-trauma units are susceptible to compassion fatigue due to work-related stressors. Mitigating and preventing compassion fatigue are critical to supporting the health and well-being of surgical-trauma nurses.

Local Problem

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a surgical-trauma unit was converted to a designated COVID-19 unit. Nurses verbalized feelings of burnout and stress during the pandemic and did not have a mechanism to cope with work-related stress. This project evaluated the impact of brief mindfulness-based interventions on compassion fatigue.


From February 2021 to March 2022, mindfulness champions led 5 minutes of mindfulness-based interventions, including meditation, deep breathing, and self-compassion exercises, during shift huddles. The Professional Quality of Life, version 5, questionnaire was used to evaluate preintervention and postintervention burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction. Paired-sample t tests were used to evaluate the results.


Twenty-nine of 34 nurses responded (85% response rate) with matched preintervention and postintervention questionnaires. All subscale scores showed significant improvement after intervention. The mean burnout subscale score decreased by 9.35% (P = .003), mean secondary traumatic stress subscale score decreased by 11.89% (P = .005), and mean compassion satisfaction subscale score increased by 6.44% (P = .03) after intervention.


After implementing brief mindfulness-based interventions in shift huddles, nurses reported reductions in elements of compassion fatigue (burnout and secondary traumatic stress). Nurses reported that adding brief mindfulness-based interventions to shift huddles helped them cope with work-related stress.


Brief mindfulness-based interventions can improve nurses’ compassion satisfaction while reducing compassion fatigue measurements.

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