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Ultimately, becoming knowledgeable and promoting a culture
of conversation regarding the nature of trauma serves as
an opportunity to build compassion resilience as a much-needed
set of professional skills.
professional friend (Everett & Loftus, 2011), but it appears to have added a secondary
gain regarding compassion resilience.
Compassion Resilience
Burnout and secondary traumatic stress are components of compassion fatigue that
have a personal impact based on the professional functions of the role (Pfaff et al.,
2017). This kind of stress can impact the productivity, wellness, and sense of purpose
assigned to an RA's functions. Compassion resilience is an act of intentionality: acknowledgement
of impact from the role, while being attentive to self-care strategies
(Banks van Zyl & Noonan, 2018). Thus, compassion resilience can be taught to promote
" psychological and behavioral flexibility " as a set of skills developed over time
(Kaurin et al., 2018, p. 456). It is aligned with principles of mindfulness (Crowder &
Sears, 2017) and requires engaged supervision (Stacey et al., 2017), where both enterprises
are seen as integrative supports to combat the impact of work-related stress
(Atkinson et al., 2017).
Integrative Supports
The integrative efforts of training, department meetings, supervision, confidential
support groups, and destigmatized conversation function as supports through consistent
implementation, evaluation, and intention (Shim & Ryan, 2012). Furthermore,
by standardizing expectations and normalizing the role-and understanding the inherent
impact of trauma on those who serve-a culture of professional development
and support emerges (Lawrie & Wessel, 2006; Martin & Blechschmidt, 2014). Consequently,
housing programs at academic institutions must first be willing to hear
the stories of RAs regarding how the role has impacted them personally as well as
professionally. Then housing programs can design efforts to educate, engage, and
remediate the impact of the role effectively.
STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS
This study provides an important contribution to our knowledge of burnout, compassion
fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress as well as highlighting the critical role that
RAs play in campus housing. There are some additional strengths beyond contributing
to the knowledge base. First, the measurement of the dependent variables is a strength
in that the ProQOL has a documented history of accurately measuring burnout, compassion
fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress among a wide range of helping professionals.
Thus, the use of this tool is very applicable given the multi-faceted nature of the
resident assistant role. Second, this study uses an exploratory mixed-methods orientation,
which allowed for a thorough exploration of the experiences shared by the respondents.
Lastly, the use of an iterative dialogic process with the qualitative data allowed
for saturation of themes. This process was seen as vital, as it helped the researchers
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - intro
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