Compassion fatigue is burnout, plus the fact that the caregivers vicariously suffer the trauma of their patients, experiencing the range of emotions that their patients suffer, and absorb these emotions, and this adds to the level of stress. …
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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). Nature of the Problems and their Causes The nature of the problem of burnout is that it results in severe mental fatigue and is an energy drain, according to Espeland (2006). Espeland (2006) states that burnout also results in depersonalization and a reduced feeling of accomplishment. Espeland (2006) further states that there are five work situations which might contribute to job burnout. One is that there is ambiguity on the job, as there is a lack of goals and information. No-win situations represent another type of employment issue which contributes to burnout, and this means that the manager is always dissatisfied, no matter how well the nurses perform. Role overload is the third situation, and this means that the nurses have too many responsibilities. Role conflict is the fourth situation, which means that there are conflicting responsibilities and the nurses feel pulled in different directions. The fifth situation is when the nurses are underpaid, despite the fact that they work hard. Compassion fatigue is slightly different from burnout, but described by Bush (2009) as being an expanded form of burnout. In this case, it is distinguished from burnout, according to Bush (2009) by the fact that, in addition to there being stressors in the workplace, like between
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They affect the workplace in terms of absenteeism, apathy, low morale, and decreased motivation. However, it is important to note that individuals suffering from compassion fatigue usually love their jobs. Compassion fatigue and burnout symptoms are divided into five major categories and they include cognitive, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and somatic.
Ironically, the more an individual is vulnerable to the pains of others, the more he/she is exposed to getting affected by the same. Down the ages, care givers in different care facilitating environments, whether it is looking after a patient or a loved one, have been affected by the trauma faced by care recipients.
This is usually accompanied by emotional pain where the caregiver becomes less empathetic (Figley, 2002). Some physical signs include muscle tension, digestive problems, headaches and chest pain. Emotional symptoms of compassion fatigue include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, oversensitivity, depression, anger, restlessness and poor concentration (Thomas & Wilson, 85).
Compassion serves as a caregiver’s core value with its essence giving nursing its expected soulfulness and healing resources. In the course of executing their duties, the emotional shifts and giving experienced by care-giving professionals could drain them focusing on their care for others and sacrifice taking care for themselves leading to compassion fatigue would.
The condition is characterised by the reduction in a person’s level of compassion, gradually, over time. The disorder commonly affects traumatised people and people who handle victims suffering from trauma (Beaton & Murphy, 1995). The
e a long history of witnessing different tragedies because of the nature of their work that is specifically to receive and care for patients some with mild illnesses while others with serious illnesses. They even see people die in front of them. These traumas make their work
Due to such situations, a nursing profession has become quite challenging activity thus requires complexity and specialization in handling emergency situations. The negative aspect of compassion fatigue nursing entails consistent absenteeism, persistent conflict and
In an argument by Walton& Alvarez (2010) practitioners tend to connect with patients at a personal basis to increase their ability to understand their requirements. The authors further point out that, this connection
It is such emotional, physical, and spiritual depletion that Eric Gentry, a traumatologist, term as compassion fatigue (Showalter).
Professionals in the intensive care units are prone to compassion fatigue. For
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