Combating Compassion Fatigue

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Combating Compassion Fatigue Grand Canyon University Foundations of Spirituality in Health Care HLT-310V Emory Davis September 13, 2013 Combating Compassion Fatigue Compassion Fatigue has been described as the “cost of caring” for others in emotional and physical pain. According to Figley, caregivers who have an inherent ability to care with compassion and express empathy are at the greatest risk for compassion fatigue when continuously faced with grief and loss. Compassion fatigue is a progressive and cumulative process that is influenced by three factors: interaction with patients, the nurse's use of their own resources, and exposure to stress (Coetzee, S. K., & Klopper, H. C. (2010). Compassion fatigue is divided into three stages. The first stage is compassion discomfort which can be reversed by rest and may include exhaustion, decreased enthusiasm, and weakening attention. The second stage is compassion stress. In this stage nurses have an increased level of stress and decreased endurance levels. The nurse may display poor job performance, irritability, and become unable to concentrate. The third and final stage is compassion fatigue. If a nurse reaches this stage it is likely according to Coetzee, that he or she may never fully recover their ability to nurture. This paper will focus on five concepts of compassion fatigue; including warning signs, causes, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and coping strategies and resources for those combating compassion fatigue. The first concept that this writer will focus on is burnout. According to a study published in Nurse Leadership in September 2006, an estimated 58 percent of nurses and 54 percent of nurse managers suffer from some level of burnout. And among new nurse graduates, 66 percent experience severe burnout (Nurse Connect, 2012). Burnout is a gradual process that occurs over

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