Both compassion and employee engagement are determined to have positive impacts in a healthcare setting. Previous research indicates that patients who receive compassionate care from healthcare providers may recover more quickly from illnesses and better manage long-term health issues. Additionally, high employee engagement has been shown to have a positive relationship with quality of patient care, patient safety, and patient-centered care. Due to the far-reaching impact of both variables, an association between compassion and employee engagement would enable healthcare providers to leverage the relationship for improved patient outcomes. This study explored the relationship between compassion and employee engagement. Qualitative data was collected from 118 nurses through the International Nurses Society on Addictions. All participants completed a 9-item Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES). Participants were then distributed by engagement category and volunteers were contacted to complete a semi-structured interview to discuss their experiences with compassion in the workplace. This qualitative data was obtained from nine interviewees. A review of the research data and previous academic research led to four findings. First, previous academic research findings were confirmed. Second, the participant’s connection to compassion in their work indicated the importance of this emotionally charged topic. Third, a trend between the average frequency of daily acts of compassion and engagement level indicated a potential relationship or confounding variable. Fourth, the research data indicated an inconclusive relationship between compassion and employee engagement.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Employee motivation -- Testing; Nurses; Compassion

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Mangiofico, Gary;