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Emotional distress caused by burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress is a significant problem in the nursing profession. It is exacerbated by increased workload, increasingly complex patients, and lack of support from managerial positions. Forensic nurses and those who work close to trauma and death, such as emergency room nurses, are most at risk of developing emotional distress related to their patient population. The question at the heart of this scholarly project proposal is: can nurses increase awareness and better understand levels of emotional distress by using the Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) measure to make career and lifestyle changes? This proposal is created to define emotional distress in the forms of burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary stress syndrome and educate nurses on their potential or current level of difficulty. The ProQOL measure is a tool utilized to understand levels of emotional distress stress and its role in nurse performance. Using a rating of 1 (never) to 5 (very often) thirty questions will be administered to registered nurses participating in the study. Once all questions are completed, the nurse will score the questionnaire with each category’s respective questions and evaluate and compare levels of emotional distress. Results of individual ProQOL scores aim to increase the knowledge of affected nurses and serve as a foundational tool to promote the physical and mental welfare of the nursing profession. Further research is needed to identify effective interventions for emotional distress; however, self-awareness of risk factors and current severity is critical in ensuring a healthy nursing workforce.



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