Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Holly Gray

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Lee Ann Walmsley

Committee Member

Dr. Andrew Makowski


Background: Compassion fatigue is “stress resulting from exposure to a traumatized individual” and is described as “a state of physical and mental exhaustion caused by a depleted ability to cope with one’s everyday environment” (Cocker & Joss, 2016, p. 1). Fifty-two percent of mental health workers are experiencing compassion fatigue (The Mental Health of Healthcare Workers in COVID-19, 2020). Behavioral health units have some of the highest turnover rates across hundreds of hospital systems (2019 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report, 2019). Compassion fatigue has been identified as a risk factor for turnover in nurses and statistics display the need for evidence-based interventions such as mindfulness, a protective factor that may prevent turnover (Sung et al., 2012; Wells-English et al., 2019).

Purpose: The purpose of this DNP project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based mindfulness intervention designed to reduce compassion fatigue and increase mindfulness in inpatient psychiatric staff.

Methods: A pretest-posttest quasi-experimental study will be used for this DNP project. Mindfulness will be measured pre-and-post intervention using the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Paired t-tests will be used to analyze the differences in mindfulness before and after the intervention.

Results: Data analyses showed an increase in the total mindfulness using the MAAS survey. The score of the MAAS can range from a minimum score of 15 to a maximum score of 90. Using the MAAS, the higher the score, the more mindful a participant is and the lower the score the less mindful the participant is. The mean score pre-intervention was 65.1 and increased to 74.0 post-intervention; however, the increase in mindfulness post-intervention is not statistically significant with a p-value of .42.

Conclusions: Brief mindfulness interventions are an evidence-based approach to preventing and treating compassion fatigue. There is currently a gap in providing at-risk mental healthcare providers with ways to help prevent compassion fatigue, as over half experience compassion fatigue. This DNP project showed increased mindfulness, a protective factor for compassion fatigue, after implementing a brief mindfulness intervention. Although compassion fatigue could not be assessed due to facility project restrictions, these results do suggest that brief mindfulness interventions could help prevent compassion fatigue by promoting mindfulness, a protective factor.