Evidence-based (EB) projects seek to generate takeaways capable of enhancing service and facilitating the translation of recent research into practice. The detailed analysis of the findings’ implications is, therefore, a priority. This discussion reviews the outcomes and implications of a hospital-based EB project concerned with the link between compassion fatigue (CF) in the nursing staff and patient fall rates, including CF education’s small impacts on fall rates.
EB Project’s Outcomes
Based on nurse CF education and pre-education and post-education fall rates, the project indicated a small reduction in fall rates that did not exceed 5%, revealing an unclear link or more complex between CF and falls in the research setting. In previous research, burnout, which is part of CF, has been shown to have a positive relation to adverse patient outcomes, with nurse depersonalization rates directly related to nurse-reported falls in inpatient settings (Jun et al., 2021). Formalized nurse self-care and self-awareness education is utilized to battle CF in care professionals in high-stress clinical environments and can promote increases in compassion satisfaction and reductions in nurse burnout (Klein et al., 2018). Considering these trends, the outcomes were not as anticipated with regards to decreasing fall rates, but the program’s positive influences on CF knowledge levels were considerable. As an unanticipated outcome, an insignificant reduction in fall rates signifies the need for analyzing the CF-fall link more holistically, with reference to the impacts of fall prevention technology, organizational factors, and other confounding variables.
General and Ethical Implications
The analysis of the project’s outcomes sheds light on the latter’s implications for staff education as it demonstrates the participants’ perceived benefits of attending the three-session program. Rippled out through multiple systems and care contexts in which falls occur, the findings could inform the nurse education endeavors of facilities with extreme fall and nurse turnover rates, but their impact on care quality leaders would be minimal. There are two crucial ethical implications; firstly, concentrating on CF prevention education rather than fall prevention education could reduce the chance of benefiting more patients. Secondly, in most cases, including the project, CF education for nursing staff concentrates on the self-care concept applied to various daily activities (Abernathy & Martin, 2019). From participants’ questions during the program, it was clear that some nurses could conflate increased self-care, especially the healthy rest component, with reduced attention to care activities that they found unpleasant. To avoid such misconceptions from affecting care quality in similar projects, it is crucial to address the healthy balance between self-care and nurse engagement as part of CF education.
The Findings’ Significance
Despite the failure to reveal a strong link between CF in nurses and fall rates, the results still have some significance when it comes to informing further research. Firstly, the participants’ subjective assessment of CF prevention training was predominantly positive, indicating the lack of nurse resistance to CF-related projects to be instrumentalized in subsequent research. Secondly, applying the previously learned sample size and generalizability concepts, it could be argued that testing similar interventions in settings with extremely problematic fall rates, which is not the selected setting’s case, would offer data with greater transferability. Thirdly, the findings might suggest that the link between CF and increased patient falls depends on facility-specific social (personal risk factors for CF, patients’ fall risk profiles), technological/financial (access to new-generation fall prevention equipment), and quality-related (elevated fall rates, severe understaffing) factors. Factors that are political or related to intensive care, including problematic mentally ill patients’ access to non-psychiatric facilities with unprepared staff, might also affect this link. These considerations could inspire further CF and fall rate research to draw comparisons between separate organizations.
Finally, the project’s outcomes reveal a small positive link between CF and patient falls, though the participants’ positive reactions to CF-related initiatives indicate opportunities for further research. Even small rate reductions preceded by formalized CF-focused education imply the need for further research in larger samples and settings with higher fall incidence. From an ethical standpoint, CF-focused projects should be carefully designed to avoid decreasing nurse engagement unintentionally.
Abernathy, S., & Martin, R. (2019). Reducing compassion fatigue with self-care and mindfulness. Nursing2020 Critical Care, 14(5), 38-44. Web.
Jun, J., Ojemeni, M. M., Kalamani, R., Tong, J., & Crecelius, M. L. (2021). Relationship between nurse burnout, patient and organizational outcomes: Systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 119, 1-11. Web.
Klein, C. J., Riggenbach-Hays, J. J., Sollenberger, L. M., Harney, D. M., & McGarvey, J. S. (2018). Quality of life and compassion satisfaction in clinicians: A pilot intervention study for reducing compassion fatigue. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 35(6), 882-888. Web.