Compassion linked to emotion exhaustion among nurses

Nurses can suffer themselves from being required to display compassion at all times, according to UK researchers.


Nurses who were required to display higher levels of compassion were more likely to feel emotionally exhausted, a study by the University of Bedfordshire found. In addition, nurses who had higher levels of empathy felt emotionally exhausted too, the authors said.


The findings are based on a sample of 351 nurses who completed a serious of online questionnaires about their lives in work and beyond.

Study author Professor Gail Kinman said: “Displaying compassion and empathy is a fundamental requirement in nursing and is valued by patients and their families. However, this ‘emotional labour’ can affect their wellbeing.


“Our research found some support for the idea that emotional support can help break this relationship,” she warned.


By Steve Ford