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Burnout is one of the major concepts of compassion fatigue. The signs of burnout, according to Espeland (2006), includes that the nurses are always exhausted, they are cynical and feel detached, and they feel that they are ineffective. They also exhibit signs that include anger, depression, paralysis, feeling stuck, irritability, cynicism, bitterness and negativity towards others, the self, and the world (Espeland, 2006).
Job stress is another concept of compassion fatigue, according to Chen et al. (2009). They state that signs of job stress include job absences, conflicts with staff members, depression, staff turnover, and inferior caregiving. The difference between job stress and burnout is that burnout is the result of unrelenting job stress, over a period of time, therefore job stress is a lessor version of burnout.
Compassion fatigue itself is an expanded version of burnout. As stated below, compassion fatigue is really burnout plus the fact that the nurses have to deal with very sick and dying patients, much of the time, as with oncology nurses, who exhibit high levels of compassion fatigue. According to Bush (2009), the signs of compassion fatigue are that the nurse identifies and integrates the grief, emotions and fears of their patients, and this means that their own stress and emotional pain are exacerbated. The nurses experience a kind of vicarious trauma in these situations, as they absorb the emotions of their patient, and this affects the nurse’s perceptions of trust, safety, self-esteem, control, and intimacy (Bush, 2009). ...