Combating Compassion Fatigue

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Combating Compassion Fatigue
Kimberly Tozi
Grand Canyon University
Spirituality in Healthcare
Dr. Todd Fowler
November 17, 2013
Combating Compassion Fatigue
 These days’ nurses are ‘doing more and more with less resources’. Our profession has been known as being of a co-dependent nature. This nature is not only reflected in our career choice but also frequently in our family management which can place double the stress on the nurse. Demands on nurses can lead to burnout or compassion fatigue. This condition not only prevents nurses from giving their patients the optimal care they deserve but can also result in a very unhappy life for the nurse them self. Nursing must work hard and work constantly to prevent this kind of fatigue from developing in our lives and careers.

Compassion fatigue can result from prolonged stress at work and at home. Not taking care of our own emotional needs is a major contributor to this condition. Compassion fatigue extends beyond burnout and can result in “nurses becoming tired, depressed, angry, ineffective, and, at the end of the continuum, apathetic and detached” (Bush, 2009, p. 25). Warning signs may include negativity, irritability, disengagement, changes in relationships with coworkers, inability to complete tasks, and more complaints from patients. The staff member may also exhibit somatic complaints like headaches and/or depression resulting in frequent sick calls. Compassion fatigue has been shown to decrease job satisfaction, decrease patient satisfaction, decrease productivity, and increase turn over.

Compassion fatigue not only affects the nurse involved, but affects the patients being cared for, and the institution the nurse is working for. “In today’s economy compassion fatigue can be very costly personally and professionally for nurses, and financially for institutions” (Lombardo & Eyre, 2011, para. 31). The patients that are being cared for are not receiving the best...
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