Compassion Fatigue

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October 06, 2012

Combating Compassion Fatigue
Burn out is a state of mental tiredness, that a health care worker gradually gets .At this point the health care worker feels completely empty and worthless. Compassion fatigue is increasingly common in nursing. A healthcare worker may feel over worked, emotionally trained out, or some times feel frustrated and less productive. “Burnout is a problem born of good intentions because it happens when individuals try to reach unrealistic goals and end up depleting their energy and losing touch with themselves and others”. (Wright 2003). In this paper will discus about warning signs for five major concepts, the nature of compassion fatigue and the cause for this, will discuss about the physical emotional and spiritual needs of a health care worker, and finally will discuss about examples of coping strategies and resources to over come this situation.

The warning signs

Compassion is one of the fundamental natures of nursing. All the health care workers are obligated to provide compassionate care to patients. Often compassion fatigue occurs due to the fact that healthcare workers over work or take the pain of their patients more emotionally, most of the time health care providers give sincere and compassionate care, very dedicated to their work, but forget to take care them selves, which often leads to this situation. As a result the health worker becomes compassionately numb. The major concepts of compassion fatigue are cognitive, emotional, occupational/social, spiritual, and physical. (Bush, N. J. 2009). Cognitive

Person will experience less self esteem .Often one will find difficulty to do their duty because unable to concentrate on the task. May notice decrease in performance at work such as lack of interest, more absenteeism, negativism, and moral may be lost. In major conditions disorientation can be found. Emotional

Emotional symptoms are frustration, feel very angry, want to quite the job, and feel depressed. Sometimes feels like to outburst the anger, feel grief. Having less or no compassion. Can have night mares, sleep disturbance, flight of feelings. Occupational/social

Person who suffers with compassion fatigue can feel like isolated from family and friends. Have problems with co workers, and also with family relations. Can be less productive at work, work performance is getting low, increasing absenteeism. Physical

Very tired even after rest, insomnia, irritability are common physical symptoms. If left untreated can get in to major physical problems includes cold, dizziness, chronic aches, digestion problems, heart burn, head ache, impaired body functions. Spiritual

Spiritual symptoms include hopelessness, negativism, and low self esteem. Nature of problem and cause
As nurses works in a health care environment there are many causes for compassion fatigue. Nurses interacts different persons and personality’s every day. Compassion fatigue can be caused from work place, high turn over, work load, having heavy patients, lifting and turning, having sick patients and get emotional stress from the pain of patients, taking care of a patient with out having any positive effect. Can caused by co-workers, unhappy work environment, some times can be caused by increased demand from the upper management, also from high expectations from patients and family. Striving to manage the time pressure, or dealing with complex patient care, interactions with other units or departments can be another reason for stress. Feeling powerlessness, frustrated and difficulty to meet professional and personal expectations can be a reason this. Managements most of the time cutting the cost, resulting do more with less cost often leads to stress and compassion fatigue. Manager’s puts pressure on high patient score, to get the reimbursement, but at the same time patient staff ratio remains...
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