Influencing Professional Quality of Life among Nurses in a Military Facility


Name: Angela Simmons

Rank: LTC

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, TX

Year Published: 2015

Abstract Status:


This is a quasi-experimental, repeated measures study to examine the effectiveness of a small group, self-care interventional program on improving the professional quality of life of nurses working at San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC). Nurses who care for large numbers of severely injured patients have high levels of stress and are at an increased risk of developing components of compassion fatigue including secondary traumatic stress and burnout. Additionally, they may experience lower levels of compassion satisfaction. While the literature is saturated with studies describing the incidence of compassion fatigue and negative mental health outcomes in civilian providers, there is gap in the literature that addresses the professional quality of life of nurses in military treatment facilities (MTF) including interventions that may impact these factors. This study is designed to address this gap by providing a program to equip nurses who work in a Level 1 trauma MTF to recognize their risks and apply different self-care techniques to nurture their own mental health and improve their professional quality of life. This is a quasi-experimental study employing repeated measures over a 6 month period of time with a sample of 60 nurses assigned to SAMMC. Participants will all receive four 1-hr small group classes based on a modified version of the Accelerated Recovery Program by Gentry, Baranowsky & Dunning (1997). These classes include information on recognizing triggers for compassion fatigue as well as self-care tools they can use to combat the costs of caring and improve their professional quality of life. Data collection will occur at pre-intervention, post-intervention (4 weeks), and at 6 months after receiving the intervention using the following instruments: Demographic questionnaire, Professional Quality of Life scale, and Perceived Stress Scale. Data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlational analyses, and repeated measures ANOVA. It is anticipated that this intervention could be utilized by other MTFs to equip nurses with the knowledge and skills necessary to care for themselves as they continue to provide high quality care to SMs and military healthcare beneficiaries.

Because of the documented stress of caring for unprecedented numbers of young service members with severe, life-changing injuries and their families, nurses working in MTFs need this intervention to enhance their capability of providing quality care while nurturing their own mental health. Findings have the potential to translate into sustainable programs for military healthcare providers in MTFs across the US.