Compassion fatigue is a growing problem for nurses and professional caregivers. When nurses witness pain, fear, sickness, disease and even death they can start to feel the same pain and suffering that their patients experience. This can lead to compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is phrase used to describe “the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized person” (Tellie, 2008). It is often referred to as secondary traumatic stress syndrome and can lead to lack of empathy and caring emotions; two things that are needed in order to effectively care for sick and suffering patients. In this paper, the author will examine the five concepts of compassion fatigue and related symptoms and warning signs, explain the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the caregiver and identify coping strategies and resources available to caregivers.
Warning signs of five concepts of compassion fatigue
There are five major concepts of compassion fatigue: cognitive, emotional, behavioral, spiritual and somatic. Because of the array of different ways compassion fatigue can affect each person, symptoms may vary but there are warning signs that may signal someone is suffering from compassion fatigue. It is important to be able to recognize the warning signs of compassion fatigue in order to properly care for yourself before it becomes too late. Some warning signs associated with each concept are described below.
Cognitive warning signs can start off subtle with little things like forgetfulness and decreased concentration, but they can quickly increase causing inability to focus at work which can lead to poor patient care and even medical errors. Other cognitive warning signs include low self-esteem,...
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...o effectively combatting compassion fatigue
Bush, N. (2009). Compassion fatigue: Are you at risk? Oncology Nursing Forum, 36(1), 24-28. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=2010154574&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Lombardo, B., & Eyre, C. (2011). Compassion fatigue: A nurse's primer. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 16(1), 1. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=2011048800&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Tellie, M. (2008). Compassion fatigue: The cost of caring. Nursing Update, 32(8), 34-27. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=2011038772&site=ehost-live&scope=site
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