Combating Compassion Fatigue
Grand Canyon University: HLT-310V
September 12, 2014
The role of a healthcare provider, particularly a nurse, can be very taxing physically, emotionally and spiritually. The duties of a nurse require compassion, dedication and at times giving more attention to the needs of a patient than one’s own needs. The goal is to help others in times when they are not able to help themselves. Although the goal is clear, there are many factors that can make that goal more challenging, such as facilities being short staffed, increased nurse/patient ratios, increased intense loads, extended work hours and the often tremendous needs of patients and their families, to name a few. Overtime, these factors can run its toll on anyone. This toll can surface as exhaustion, stress, and at times, burnout. Ultimately, with these symptoms untreated it can and will lead to compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue not only affects the nurse in terms of job satisfaction and emotional and physical health, but also the workplace environment by decreasing productivity and increasing turnover (Lombardo, 2011). This paper will discuss the causes, symptoms, the side effects and the steps needed to combat compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue is defined as a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion in relation to providing care to patients in significant emotional pain and physical distress, and has also been referred to as burnout that affects individuals in caregiving roles (Lombardo, 2011). Compassion fatigue is more related to the emotional stresses of care for patients, whereas burnout is related to the frustration, loss of interest, decreased productivity, and fatigue caused by being overworked and prolonged stresses of the dissatisfactions of the work environment (Wisniewski, 2013). Both stresses can cause one to have a decrease ability to provide the compassionate care needed for their patients, and a loss of ability...