Compassion practice by Ugandan nurses who provide HIV care

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Harrowing, Jean N.
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Compassion is fundamental to ethical nursing practice; it represents a commitment to acknowledge and respond to the suffering of the patient. Many structural, economic, and sociopolitical challenges confront Ugandan nurses in their efforts to incorporate compassion into their care of persons with HIV illness. After reviewing the literature related to compassion fatigue, the author describes nursing in sub-Saharan Africa and presents a qualitative study exploring the impact of education on 24 nurses’ lives, including their capacity to avoid or mitigate the development of compassion fatigue. Data were collected through interviews, observation, and focus group discussions. Findings illustrate the barriers participants faced in providing competent care and the liberating effects of new knowledge and skills. Engaging in meaningful relationships, maintaining hopeful attitudes, and advocating for the profession were found to transform and affirm the nurses’ approach toward their work and enhance their experiences of compassion satisfaction. The author discusses the unique aspects of the experience of compassion among Ugandan nurses caring for persons with HIV illness.
HIV/AIDS , HIV infections--Uganda , AIDS (Disease)--Uganda , HIV/AIDS--Nursing , Nursing education--Uganda , Uganda , Compassion fatigue
Harrowing, J., (Jan 31, 2011) "Compassion Practice by Ugandan Nurses Who Provide HIV Care" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 16, No. 1, Manuscript 5.