Compassion Fatigue in Pediatric Oncology Nurses

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Pediatric oncology nurses are given the unique opportunity to make connections and build long-term relationship with their patients and families. Standard treatment protocol for many childhood cancers span over the course of years, with long-term surveillance and follow up visits after treatment has finished. Due to their patient’s chronic diagnoses and the acuity of their conditions, pediatric oncology nurses work in an environment of increased stress. The high stress environment puts the nurses at an increased risk for compassion fatigue; so it is the responsibility of both the nurse, and the institution to be aware of the symptoms and to effectively manage the condition should it arise. Without proper attention to the stress management of pediatric oncology nurses, compassion fatigue may be of concern and put patient care at risk. Compassion fatigue is a complex form of secondary traumatic stress often experienced by nurses and other health care professionals due to their stressful work environment. Compassion fatigue is extreme exhaustion that penetrates all aspects of one’s wellbeing, including the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of life (Murphy-Ende, 2012). Dealing with children who are both chronically ill or in palliative care is known to be extremely stressful. Not only are nurses faced with dealing with the physical symptoms of their patients, they also must attend to their fragile emotional state and be of assistance to their anxious family members. Oncologic diagnoses can put a child and their family into turmoil. Since the nurse is the first, and most constant point of contact, they are often the ones who become responsible for ensuring well-being of the entire family throughout the ... ... middle of paper ... ... fatigue and negative implications. Works Cited Murphy-Ende, K. (2012) “Mental Health Issues in Cancer”. In Payne, J. K., (Ed,) Current Trends in Oncology Nursing. (pp. 182-186). Pittsburgh: Oncology Nursing Society. Davies, B., Jin, J. (2006) “Grief and Bereavement in Pediatric Palliative Care” In Ferrel, B. R., & Coyle, N. (Eds) Textbook of Palliative Nursing Second Edition. (pp. 975-977, 987-988). New York: Oxford University Press. Hecktman, H. M. (2012). “Stress in Pediatric Oncology Nurses”. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 29:356, 356-361. doi: 10.1177/104345212458367. Schuster, J. L. (2013, June 10). “With nurses at risk of compassion fatigue, hospitals try to ease their stress”. The Washington Post. Retrieved on October 25 2013 from:

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