Compassion Fatigue And Caregiver Burnout

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The nursing profession has often been dubbed as the backbone of the healthcare system because nurses are first in line when it comes to the patient’s medical care. Hence, nursing quality is one of the major factors that affects the well-being of the patient. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are expected to possess the characteristics of caring and empathy towards their patients. However, when there is too much care for patients and too little for one’s self, a negative effect to the overall health of the caregiver may develop. Additionally, nursing work is seen to be strenuous and challenging due to its need for specialization, complexity, and requirement to handle emergency situations (Benoliel et al., 1990; Su, 1993). Nurses, in effect, may feel overworked, underappreciated, frustrated and emotionally exhausted. These stressors that healthcare providers undergo are described by different terms including compassion fatigue, caregiver burnout and other related issues. In this paper, the nature of compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout are first defined and discussed. The symptoms as well as the coping strategies for these phenomena are then explained. In order to fully understand the problem on compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout, the definition of each as well as distinction between both should be discussed. Firstly, burnout is described differently from that of being depressed or overworked. It is a process wherein a person is in a state of mental fatigue, empty and drained of energy (Espeland, 2006). For Maslach (1982), individuals who interact with people on a daily basis are likely to experience burnout which is thought to be a syndrome of emotional fatigue, depersonalization and a reduced sense o... ... middle of paper ... ...Nursing Studies, 40, 807-827. Espeland, K. E. (2006). Overcoming burnout: how to revitalize your career. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 37(4), 178-184. Figley, C. R. (1995). Compassion fatigue: coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York: Brunner-Mazel. Joinson, C. (1992). Coping with compassion fatigue. Nursing, 22(4), 116-121. Martin, B. (2002). Promoting a balance between personal health and professional responsibility. Chart, 99(5), 4-5. Maslach, C. (1982). Burnout: The cost of caring. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Portnoy, D. (2011). Burnout and compassion fatigue: Watch out for the signs. Health Progress, 47-50. Su, H. R. (1993). The study of job stressors and stress response of clinical nurses. Nursing Research, 1(1), 83-93. Wright, S. (2003). Feel the burn. Nursing Standard, 17(25), 25.

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