Improving Retention Among Certified Nursing Assistants Through Compassion Fatigue Awareness and Self-Care Skills Education

Michele M Dreher, Ronda G Hughes, Patricia A Handley, Abbas S Tavakoli
Journal of Holistic Nursing: Official Journal of the American Holistic Nurses' Association 2019 March 18, : 898010119834180

BACKGROUND: Retention of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) is an ongoing challenge for nursing homes.

PURPOSE: To combat the effects of providing complex care needs to residents, this quality improvement project explored a 90-minute evidence-based education program on compassion fatigue awareness and multiple self-care skill strategies for CNA retention.

DESIGN: A single-group pre- and posttest design, mixed-methods approach.

METHOD: A preintervention demographic survey, a postexperience survey, and the ProQOL (Professional Quality of Life; Version 5) tool measured the CNAs' level of compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress at three time points: preintervention, 1 month postintervention, and 3 months postintervention.

RESULTS: Forty-five CNAs participated. After 1 month, CNA retention increased by 43%, and at the end of the fourth month, the facility's retention rate was 100%. Forty-four percent of the full-time supplemental agency CNAs became full-time facility employees. The use of supplemental agency staff decreased to less than 5% of the total CNA hours worked. CNAs improved their compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress scores.

CONCLUSION: This education program proved to be an effective, low-cost intervention. The quality improvement project highlighted the need for additional study on holistic interventions such as workplace education programs addressing compassion fatigue awareness and self-care skill strategies in this understudied group of formal caregivers.

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