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The prevalence of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue among midwives in one Australian health service: a descriptive cross-sectional study.

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posted on 02.03.2017, 01:47 by Mahungururo, Mugara Joseph
Introduction: This study was undertaken to investigate the prevalence of compassion satisfaction (CS) and/ or compassion fatigue (CF) among midwives. While there is limited research into CS and CF in midwives, these have been demonstrated as key aspects that affect professional quality of life (ProQOL) in a range of caring professions. Methods: A quantitative descriptive cross-sectional online survey was used as the approach to the research. Demographic questions and the ProQOL v5 questionnaire were used as methods of data collection. Survey Monkey software was used to gather the responses. Midwives from a large Melbourne based metropolitan health service were recruited for this survey from three maternity settings, which were geographically dispersed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed using SPSS version 20 to analyse the data. Results: The survey had a 32% response rate, and data from 152 midwives were analysed. The Midwives were from hospital A (42.1%), B (30.9%), C (21.7%), and 5.3% worked across the three campus; all were female with mean age of 39.16 (SD 11.97). Overall findings on the levels of CS and CF were; 25% of midwives had high levels of CS and 75% had average to high levels of STS and BO. Midwives who experienced average to low levels of STS were at risk of similar levels of BO. Midwives with STS still had high CS meanwhile midwives with BO had average to low CS. The key statistically significant findings were high levels of compassion satisfaction [n= 42, t (150) =2.43, p=0.016] in midwives who were employed full time, and high levels of secondary traumatic stress [n= 110, t (150) = -2.49, p= 0.014] in the midwives who were employed part time. In this study the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for ProQOL v5 subscales was Compassion satisfaction (CS) α=0.884, Burnout (BO) α=0.815 and Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) α= 0.81. Conclusion: CS and CF (STS) in this study were linked to being either a full time or part time employee respectively. There is a need for similar research to be done to further explore the prevalence of these concepts in midwifery. The findings have implications for midwives and managers in being aware of the factors that are possibly linked to CS and CF in the professional midwifery workforce.


Principal supervisor

Cheryle Moss

Additional supervisor 1

Gayle McLelland

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Nursing and Midwifery

Campus location


Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences