Compassion Fatigue Essay

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Compassion Fatigue
Most nurses enter the field of nursing with the intent to help others and provide empathetic care for patients with critical physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Empathic and caring nurses, however, can become victims of the continuing stress of meeting the often overwhelming needs of patients and their families, resulting in compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue affects not only the nurse in terms of job satisfaction and emotional and physical health, but also the workplace environment by decreasing productivity and increasing turnover. Recently compassion fatigue is getting a lot of attention, especially in regards to nursing. For good reason; it could be very detrimental to your practice, permanently reducing your ability to care. Today's Florence Nightingales may be suffering from 'Compassion Fatigue'. Looking at the progression of compassion fatigue and its symptoms, one thing is clear: compassion fatigue can have a major impact on a nurse's professional practice. If the nurse's ability to care is affected, quality of care could suffer. It is easy to see how symptoms such as diminished performance, impaired ability to concentrate and poor judgment may lead to a poor quality of care for the patient. A nurse experiencing compassion fatigue may become so exhausted and indifferent simple things of great importance to the patient may be overlooked. Little efforts such as making sure the call bell and telephone are within reach may mean a great deal to the patient. A nurse who has a lack of concentration is at greater risk for an error and is more likely to commit a serious medication error. Since the progression of compassion fatigue is cumulative, nurses may exhibit symptoms from more than one stage. Previous research has used the term compassion fatigue interchangeably with secondary trauma syndrome, which identifies the

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