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There are five concepts of compassion fatigue that include emotional, somatic, cognitive, behavioral and spiritual concepts. All these concepts have certain warning signs to show that one is in the brink of experiencing compassion fatigue. With respect to the cognitive concept, warning signs include decrease in self-esteem, poor judgment, short attention span, disordered thinking, forgetfulness and disinterest in introspection. Generally, this means that the mental ability of a caregiver to perform their duties decreases. One’s colleagues will notice a reduced work rate and a form of laziness or disinterest in normal activities and a lot of negativity around the working environment. With respect to emotional concept, the warning signs could include distancing oneself from others, expressing anger to work situations, becoming apathetic, having a desire to leave nursing, going into depression and experiencing irritability. Here, a nurse feels that the normal responsibilities have become a burden and does not need such issues. In terms of the behavioral concept, the warning signs could include unresponsiveness, indifference, callousness, isolation and avoidance of emotionally charged situations. A nurse experiences a change in behavior in response to normal events or situations at the work place and acts like he or she is not in the right work environment even if they have worked there for years (Bush, 2009).
With respect to the somatic concept, an individual will experience warning signs such as headaches, exhaustion, becoming accident-prone, becoming susceptible to infection and having difficulty in sleeping. Individuals feel physically exhausted and drained to the extent that they feel pain such as headaches, sweating, rapid heartbeat and dizziness among others. They may not respond normally to their normal duties because of the above symptoms. In respect to spiritual concepts, an individual will feel laziness to
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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.
Compassion fatigue is a problem in the nursing profession. It encompasses job stress and burnout, which are lessor forms of compassion fatigue. Job stress is stress that is experienced for a short period of time, and burnout is job stress which occurs over an extended period of time.
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
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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