Compassion Fatigue Essay

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Compassion Fatigue Compassion is the ability to feel sympathy of another being’s distress with the desire to alleviate (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2014). Compassion fatigue is a type of work burnout specific to caregivers, which is a multifaceted phenomenon that emanates from unresolved accumulated stress from ineffective coping of the caregiver’s needs built over time as well as one’s ineffective coping response to the patient’s distress (Bush, 2009). Due to the constant changing and increasing demands of healthcare, as well as the close nature of patient to caregiver relationship, nurses are at high risk for compassion fatigue. This essay will identify warning signs of compassion fatigue; explain the problems and their causes; explain the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the caregiver; lastly, identify coping strategies and useful resources for the caregiver. Warning Signs for Compassion Fatigue Compassion fatigue can exhibit a wide range of symptoms, affecting areas, such as cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social relations, physical manifestations, work performance, and one’s spirituality (Bush, 2009). Compassion fatigue can be difficult to identify if unaware of compassion fatigue, as manifestations can appear to be isolated. With the lack of recognition, effective treatment can be inhibited. According to Bush (2009), manifestations can include headaches, depression, irritability, anger, apathy, inability to concentrate, feelings of anxiety, poor appetite, having feelings of being worn out, feelings of failing, feelings of powerlessness, or a sense of demoralization. Compassion fatigue can eventually affect one’s personal relations, as it can cause the caregiver to withdraw, isolate, or detach oneself if unaddressed. Failure to cope with work stressors can even lead to risky behaviors, such as alcohol or substance abuse. Compassion

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