Combating Compassion Fatigue Care giving services and professions are considered as noble in nature and rewarding in experience. The service demands compassionate, sensitive and dedicated people who will be able to empathize with the patients and understand their needs…
Prolonged exposure to care giving services, especially to critical patients, has seemed to put equal stress on the individual providing the care. The mental, emotional and physical stress that results in providing care with compassion is termed as compassion fatigue. Unless the individual, who becomes a victim of compassion fatigue, takes measures at the onset of the illness, it could take severe turn in perpetually damaging the nervous system and mental health. The five major concepts associated with compassion fatigue are burnout, vicarious traumatization, critical incident stress, occupational stress and stress continuum (Sabo, 2011). The sooner the symptoms are detected, the greater is the chance of complete cure. The Warning Signs, the Nature of the Problem and the Causes of Compassion Fatigue Burnout This syndrome occurs when there is constant failure in achieving the expectation of one-self and of others in spite of hard work due to reasons related to client problems and occupational limitations (Ontario, 2011). It occurs gradually and causes Emotional exhaustion Depersonalization or the inability to connect to others Un-enthusiasm in professional and personal life Lack of a sense of personal accomplishments Irritability, sudden burst of anger without cause Frustration Lack of interest, disengagement Lack of enjoyment Depression, withdrawal Taking frequent sick leaves Addiction to alcohol, drugs (Sabo, 2011; Lombardo & Eyre, 2011; Mathieu, 2007) Vicarious Traumatisation and Critical Incident Stress A care giver experiences vicarious traumatization when he/she feels the pain and trauma the care recipient is experiencing. It is a result of complete empathising with another person. Usually it occurs when a care giving individual attends a critical patient or is an active witness of any specific emotionally disturbing and difficult situation. The resulting stress is termed as critical incident stress and it is one of the factors causing vicarious traumatization. The symptoms of critical incident stress and vicarious traumatization are: Remains pre-occupied with the client’s trauma Re-experiences the traumatic events Avoidance or remembering of the events Can develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Disruptive world view Heightening of anxiety and irrational fears Being hypersensitive or insensitive to emotions (Mathieu, 2007; Ontario, 2011) Occupational Stress When a care giver experiences compassion fatigue, it directly affects the person’s occupational status. The person can not cope up with the work load or any kind of care-giving job related responsibility. He/she tends to find ways of escaping the stressful atmosphere that the particular occupation pushes him/her into. The symptoms of occupational stress are: Fears certain clients or patients, avoids working with them Does not find enjoyment in work, lacks focus in careers Finds it hard to keep personal and professional life apart Takes frequent sick leaves from work Incapability to work independently, fails to take decision for patients Turns workaholic, performs without perceiving, becomes mechanical (Mathieu, 2007; Varner, 2004) Stress Continuum When the stress persists and becomes chronic, then the state is described as stress continuum. In most compassion fatigue cases, stress continuum becomes a common condition with the victims of this illness. Warning signs of stress continuum could be Problems with intimacy and forming personal relationships Chronic ...
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Fatigue failure occurs through the propagation of microcracks due to repeated cyclical stresses. This type of failure is not characterised by the same visible signs as static failure; there is neither buckling nor deflection, and the internal cracks that lead to fatigue failure are not always visible to the naked eye.
They affect the workplace in terms of absenteeism, apathy, low morale, and decreased motivation. However, it is important to note that individuals suffering from compassion fatigue usually love their jobs. Compassion fatigue and burnout symptoms are divided into five major categories and they include cognitive, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and somatic.
Compassion fatigue is a problem in the nursing profession. It encompasses job stress and burnout, which are lessor forms of compassion fatigue. Job stress is stress that is experienced for a short period of time, and burnout is job stress which occurs over an extended period of time.
This is usually accompanied by emotional pain where the caregiver becomes less empathetic (Figley, 2002). Some physical signs include muscle tension, digestive problems, headaches and chest pain. Emotional symptoms of compassion fatigue include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, oversensitivity, depression, anger, restlessness and poor concentration (Thomas & Wilson, 85).
Compassion serves as a caregiver’s core value with its essence giving nursing its expected soulfulness and healing resources. In the course of executing their duties, the emotional shifts and giving experienced by care-giving professionals could drain them focusing on their care for others and sacrifice taking care for themselves leading to compassion fatigue would.
Fatigue is the most prevalent and disruptive symptom of cancer and its treatment regimens which often linger beyond the treatment phase of the disease (Visovsky and Schneider, 2003). Women undergoing treatment for breast cancer may encounter fatigue, which can persist for months or years following the completion of therapy (Bower, Ganz, Aziz, & Fahey, 2002).
e a long history of witnessing different tragedies because of the nature of their work that is specifically to receive and care for patients some with mild illnesses while others with serious illnesses. They even see people die in front of them. These traumas make their work
Due to such situations, a nursing profession has become quite challenging activity thus requires complexity and specialization in handling emergency situations. The negative aspect of compassion fatigue nursing entails consistent absenteeism, persistent conflict and
In an argument by Walton& Alvarez (2010) practitioners tend to connect with patients at a personal basis to increase their ability to understand their requirements. The authors further point out that, this connection
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