How Good Nursing Leads to Compassion Fatigue

Powerful Essays
The American Nurses Association (2014) defines nursing as, “ The protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.” Nursing is a profession which integrates science, knowledge, and interpersonal skills to provide quality care to individuals, families, and communities. Nurses not only share knowledge but also common attributes. Generally, nurses are nurturing, compassionate, and empathetic. These qualities are needed along with foundational knowledge to provide the best possible care for patients. Nursing is a profession in which you experience critically ill, suffering, and traumatic patients on a daily basis. The casual occurrence of traumatic events wears on one’s emotional endurance. The building stress of caring for suffering patients can lead to the phenomenon known as compassion fatigue.
A nurses’ job can be a rewarding and gratifying profession, however consistently caring for those in need can lead to severe stress especially when a nurses’ interventions fail to improve the patient situation. Joinson (1992) described this occurrence as, “ Overpowering, invasive stress which begins to dominate us and interfere with our ability to function. We become angry, ineffective, apathetic, and depressed. These symptoms are classified as burnout, particularly when they apply to our work” (p. 116). Joinson continues to explain compassion fatigue is a form of burnout unique to caregiving professionals. Although compassion fatigue is often mistaken as burnout, each are separate concepts that share similarities. Burnout occurs wh...

... middle of paper ... If you are feeling compassion fatigued, you need to gain some introspection, identify personal stressors, and find a balance. It is a sad irony that some nurses are so unselfish and nurturing to others but ignore their personal emotional and physical health. The work setting interventions are impactful but I think the most important treatment for compassion fatigue is to separate the caregiver from the worksite since the worksite is where the stemming relationships occur. Formal counseling is absolutely needed as well as support groups for the staff. Also it is important for managers to recognize early signs of compassion fatigue in their workers and provide advice and guidance. Nursing is a rewarding and fulfilling profession but also a stressful one. Finding a balance between work and life is crucial in the longevity of your career as well as your life.
Get Access