Although compassionate care has wide-ranging benefits for patients, it can be emotionally demanding for healthcare staff. This may be a particular problem for those with little experience in a caring role. This study utilises the job demands-resources model to examine links between “emotional labour” and emotional exhaustion in student nurses. In line with the triple-match principle—whereby interactive effects are more likely when job demands, resources, and outcomes are within the same qualitative domain—the protective role of emotional support and emotion-focused coping (i.e., emotional venting) in the relationship between emotional labour and exhaustion is also explored. An online questionnaire was completed by 351 student nurses with experience working in healthcare settings. A strong positive relationship was found between emotional labour and emotional exhaustion, and some support was found for the moderating effects of emotional support and emotion-focused coping. Ways to help student and qualified nurses develop the emotional resilience required to protect their wellbeing, while providing high-quality compassionate care to patients are considered.
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