Compassion Fatigue and It's Affects on Nursing

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Compassion Fatigue and its Affect on Nursing
Kelly Kramer
Drexel On-Line

Compassion Fatigue and its Affects on Nursing
Compassion fatigue is a rising issue for nurses working in all specialties of nursing, mainly in critical care. In this paper I will be discussing compassion fatigue, it’s symptoms, how it affects the nursing profession and individual nurses, as well as the hospitals and what untreated compassion fatigue can mean for the future of nursing.
Compassion fatigue, also referred to as secondary traumatic stress syndrome, has been defined by Charles Figley as the “natural consequent behaviors and emotions resulting from knowing about a traumatizing event experienced by a significant other – the stress resulting from helping, or wanting to help, a traumatized or suffering person”(Figley, 1995, p. 7). Although compassion fatigue has been studied more in the past 20 years in regards to nursing, there have not been many tools developed to measure the presence of it. There is a general consensus among all the articles that I read regarding the need for more studies, tools to assess and programs at hospitals for nurses. “An increased awareness of the emotional demands facing today’s nursing workforce is of utmost importance” (Erickson & Grove, 2007).
Nursing involves empathic relationships with patients, the empathic level of caring leaves us vulnerable for compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue can affect nurses across the spectrum, from students to experienced nurses. The number of students it affects has yet to be studied, but as read in the Nursing Standard, “Nursing students in the US are being taught about compassion fatigue to help them cope with stress”("Compassion Fatigue Hits," 2011, p. 7). How many students drop out or never go into the profession after finishing because they couldn’t handle the emotional part of nursing? Were they

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