Compassion Fatigue

In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.

Dalai Lama

Compassion fatigue is a physical and emotional exhaustion that causes a decline in a person’s ability to feel compassion when taking care of others.  It is the cumulative result of internalizing the emotions of patients, co-workers, family and friends.  It costs the healthcare industry millions of dollars each year in stress, burnout and employee turnover.


Compassion fatigue is a result of the caregiver being focused on providing care to others and NOT providing care to themselves.  This cannot be a one-way street, especially for healthcare professionals.  Too often healthcare professionals give most of themselves to others over a long period of time and don’t stop to recharge their own batteries.

Warning signs related to compassion fatigue:

 

Emotional Work Behaviors Physical
  • apathy
  • frustration
  • hopelessness
  • irritability
  • poor concentration
  • boredom
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • isolation
  • tardiness/ absenteeism increasing
  • error rate an issue
  • more critical of team members
  • record keeping a challenge
  • cynical attitude towards work
  • insomnia
  • increased susceptibility to illness
  • short term memory issues
  • fatigue
  • weight changes
  • personal use of chemicals increasing

 

Compassion Fatigue Resources

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  1. 5 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself Today says:

    […] it’s not so simple to understand emotionally. When we are exhausted to the core, how do we muster the energy to create new life to put inside of […]

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