Compassion fatigue – do we recognise and address?

Associate Professor Karen Linegar1

1Tasmanian Health Service -North West, Burnie , Australia


Compassion fatigue is a condition which occurs when caregivers are overwhelmed by stresses stemming from either the clinical or interpersonal components of their role. Nurses affected by compassion fatigue are unable to deliver high quality care and are at risk of burnout.

Compassion fatigue if identified and managed early has a faster recovery time than burnout.

Management of compassion fatigue is an opportunity to address what is a little recognised reason for sick leave and stress leave in the workforce.

As the recruitment and retention of nurses is a challenging issue in our Tasmanian hospitals addressing factors  which affect performance are critical ,particularly as our younger and less experienced nurses are employed .

Reference list

Boyle DA, “Countering Compassion fatigue ;A Requisite Nursing Agenda”, Online Journal of Issues in Nursing ,16,no.1 (2011)

Kravitits  K,, “Self-care strategies for nurses; A psycho-educational intervention for stress reduction and the prevention of burnout,” Applied Nursing Research, 23,no.3 (2010);130-138


Adj. Associate Professor KAREN JANE LINEGAR
RN Ba App Sc BB Dip Com Law MHA FCNA JP

Karen holds the position of Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Care Redesign at Tasmanian Health Service – North West (THS-North West). Having worked as a nursing executive in a variety of nursing and health management roles for over twenty five years, Karen has an extensive clinical background.  Primarily in the fields of operating theatre, intensive care and emergency nursing and she has managed primary health services and nursing care delivery.  She also holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position with the University of Tasmanian (School of Nursing).