Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis-Restricted

Degree Name

M.A.

Degree Program

Sociology

Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Dr. Vern Baxter

Second Advisor

Dr. Pamela Jenkins

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Figley

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to expand on the existing framework for the analysis of compassion fatigue by exploring contributing factors not traditionally examined such as increases in the number of patients assigned to each nurse, more hours of work per shift, the use of non-licensed clinical personnel instead of licensed clinical personnel, and changes in work flow management. This thesis explores one main research question: How does the corporatization of America’s healthcare system contribute to nurse’s lived experience of compassion fatigue? Michael Burawoy’s extended case method is deployed in order to gain a broader understanding of compassion fatigue.

Content analysis of one semi-structured life world interview and two nurses’ blogs reveal four major themes that enlarge the scope of compassion fatigue: professional disheartenment, adverse implications, ethical conflict, and technological distress. Results reveal that the corporatization of America’s healthcare contributes to compassion fatigue amongst nurses. An alternative approach to compassion fatigue considers the socio- economic and political environment of compassion fatigue and how that contributes to nurses’ lived experience of compassion fatigue.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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