Over the years of nursing it has become more involved, more intense, increased responsibilities and attention to tedious details. With all this, the nursing profession is suffering. In burnt out nurses and compassion fatigue, the strategies to help compared to ignoring the situation affects staff and patients health. The hospital setting is where a possibility of burnt out nurses and compassion fatigue are mainly is found but can help in any setting that have nurses and patients. Both issues contribute to the other and many factors worsen the impact.
The definition of compassion is “sympathetic consciousness of another’s distress with a desire to alleviate it” (Merriam-Webster dictionary, 2011). Compassion and the desire to nourish may have been deciding factors that would lead one to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses over the span of their career will have extensive exposure to trauma, pain and unfortunate situations. Workplace stressors such as scheduling and increasing workload along with repeated exposure to the hardships of others predisposes caregivers, especially nurses, to develop a unique type of burn out labeled compassion fatigue (Joinson 1992). Compassion fatigue develops when a nurse unintentionally takes on the misfortune, anxiety, pain and trauma of the patients they care for.
Caring is the essence of nursing. As a nurse, we establish a caring relationship with our patients, and provide the best individualize care and interventions to promote healing. Jean Watson’s focus of practice is the patient and the theory places the patient in the context of the family, the community and the culture. The major concepts of Jean Watson’s theory of caring are transpersonal caring relationships, caring moments/caring occasions and the ten caritas processes. I will describe how this theory can be applied in practice and show an example from my own practice.
The title caught my attention: “Work Environment and Conditions”. The nurse’s role has long been considered as stress-filled based upon the physical labor, human suffering, work hours, staffing, and interpersonal relationships that are central to the work nurses do. The article examined many studies conducted to measure stress and burnout in nurses and found that the environment and conditions in the work place have a great deal to do with the perceived stress levels. In the article, it speaks of the definition of stress as being a negative factor that is perceived to pose a threat to the perceiver. This definition goes on to state that one person may see an event as stressful while another may view the same situation as exhilarating.
Stress from patient acuity, heavy workload and responsibility, limited autonomy, ethical dilemmas, inadequate staffing ratios, and caring for patient’s families all contribute to emotional exhaustion (Epp, 2012, p. 26). In turn, emotional exhaustion triggers depersonalization which is a way for critical care nurses to cope. Finally, lack of personal accomplishment is achieved when the nurse cannot meet their inherent high standards and are unsupported by their colleagues and superiors (Epp, 2012, p. 28). To prevent and remedy burnout, Epp’s (2012) article suggests that nurse managers play an integral role by regulating staffing levels and encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, they can foster a supportive work environment by participating in daily reports, establishing relationships with staff nurses to identify individual signs of stress, and instituting educational workshops.
Nurses are constantly coming in contact with very ill people, some whom may carry very infectious diseases, which means nurses have to be aware of sign and symptoms to treat the patient immediately. Sometimes nurses have to deal with an unpleasant family member who thinks is acceptable to be disrespectful, simply because they can’t get the results they
Literature Review Burnout is defined as the “psychological reaction to the continuous exposure to work stress” (Goong, Xu, & Li, 2016, p. 2). It involves prolonged exposure to stress resulting in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and negative self-evaluation (Wang, Liu, & Wang, 2015). Registered nurses are at increased risk for burnout due to their daily interactions with patients and family members (Goong et al., 2016). Nurses affected by burnout often have poor relationships with colleagues, demonstrate a decreased ability to function at work, have a negative mind set, and express physical and mental exhaustion, and anxiety (Goong et al., 2016; Wang et al., 2015). Fatigue impacts the quality of the care provided to patients and
It is the responsibilities of leaders to find out the problem associated with work culture and should encourage the nursing staff to participate in decision making program. The recruitment of new staff is equally important to solve the problem. On the other hand, the nurses should also maintain their professionalism and should discuss with their managers and leaders and provoke them with the problems. Sometimes, the leaders may not realize the problem so it is the
Everyone gets angry when they are tired or stressed. Nurses experience this a lot because the hospitals are understaffed. Nurses need to have this skill because they can annoy their patients. If patients are not treated by the best nurses there could be a problem. Tersigni speaks for nurses, “I was always stressed when I worked, afraid to get sued for making a mistake or medical error,” says Tersigni, who was working in the heart transplant unit of a North Carolina hospital.
It is noted that compassion fatigue is a result of chronic stress. “Chronic stress, such as the bereavement experienced by hospice nurses, has been linked to complaints of insomnia” (Carter & Mikan, 2013, p. 368). “A variety of physical symptoms related to compassion fatigue are experienced by nurses as well, including forgetfulness, headaches, stomachaches, high blood pressure, weight gain, anger, stiff neck, fatigue, and disrupted sleep” (Fetter, 2012, p. 559). “This exhaustion is often associated with the loss of ability to provide compassionate care, a decrease in quality of patient care, and decisions to leave the workplace” (Houck, 2014, p. 454). The destruction of compassion fatigue has consequences beyond those affecting the nurse.