Compassion is one of the fundamental characteristics implemented into patient care by health care providers. Compassion signifies “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering” (Compassion, n.d.). Nurses and other health care providers provide selfless service, tireless dedication, compassion, and often neglect their personal needs, which makes them susceptible to experience an emotional problem called compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue has been described as a state experienced by those helping people in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can be traumatizing for the helper” (). Compassion fatigue results in the health care provider becoming compassionately numb.
The five major concepts of compassion fatigue are cognitive, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and somatic. Warning signs to be aware of for each of the concepts are described below.
One will also experience a decrease in self-esteem and self worth. The ability to concentrate and focus on the tasks at hand become increasing difficult, thus impacting the health care providers ability to perform their duties. Colleagues will notice a decrease in work performance. Changes in ones work performance that may occur are decreased motivation, absenteeism, negativity, and low morale. Often times the person experiencing compassion fatigue becomes preoccupied with the trauma or illness of the patient he or she provided care for. In severe cases of compassion fatigue health care providers may have thoughts...