Research Question: What are the causes of compassion fatigue for nurses in clinical settings in America? What is being done in nursing communities to counter compassion fatigue?
Compassion Fatigue is a feeling of indifference felt towards people who are suffering due to the number of such appeals.
Causes: “It strikes people who take on too heavy a load of other people's burdens, leaving little time or energy for themselves" (6). This quote encircles the overall cause of compassion fatigue. This issue is not something that nurses voluntarily choose to bring upon themselves, but rather something that their managers, facilitators, and overseers force upon them. Hospitals want more money, and the way they are trying to achieve this goal is by overburdening current employees with more work and more responsibility. Hospitals are doing this so they do not have to hire more people to complete this work.
Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue from Mild to Severe (1)
Treatment: A few examples of the many intervention programs that are desperately searching for funding are “employee assistance programs (EAPs), pastoral care, counselor or psychologist, psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, or support groups” (4). The point of these different intervention plans is to provide current day nurses with a venting system. These employees are witness to traumatic experiences everyday. They see people heal, defy odds, and sometimes, die. These programs allow nurses to share their feelings and emotions with someone else so they can be properly worked through.
Nurses choose their specific career path because they care about people. They have a passion for helping others and they gain fulfillment in helping to heal. They start their careers with open hands, hearts, and eyes, ready to do whatever they can for anyone they can. “Nurses nurse because they care. That doesn’t mean, however, that they will have unlimited doses of caring” (5), (7).
But it does not take long before the weight of work in the healthcare profession is noticed. Regardless of what a nurse does, no matter how good she or he is, patient outcomes will not always be what they are desired to be. This is part of what causes a nurse to begin suffering from compassion fatigue. “Affecting positive change in society, a mission so vital to those passionate about caring for others, is perceived as elusive, if not impossible" (2), (3). To begin thinking that the goal in your work has become impossible to reach, how else can you expect nurses to begin feeling?
Thesis: Compassion fatigue is an issue in clinical settings because of hospitals desire to increase their profit, regardless of backlash. In order to stop compassion fatigue from taking over healthcare altogether, present nurses, and incoming ones as well, need to be taught how to accurately self assess while administrators, faculty, and management of these hospitals need to be held responsible in seeing that this is accomplished.
- Chung, A. S. (2016, February 08). Too tired to care thursday. Retrieved March 15, 2017, from https://akosmed.com/2016/02/11/too-tired-to-care-Thursday
- Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, from http://www.compassionfatigue.org/index.html
- Gerber, H. (2017, March 02). Preventing Compassion Fatigue as a Travel Nurse. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://blog.sunbeltstaffing.com/travel-nursing/preventing-compassion-fatigue-as-a-travel-nurse-photos/
- Henry, B. J. (2014). Nursing Burnout Interventions. Clinical Journal Of Oncology Nursing, 18(2), 211-214. doi:10.1188/14.CJON.211-214. Retrieved March 03, 2017, from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.clemson.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1cfe54dc-0b80-4bcc-88fb-38192ac3742f%40sessionmgr120&vid=24&hid=125
- Mendes, A. (2014). Recognising and combating compassion fatigue in nursing. British Journal Of Nursing, 23(21), 1146. doi:10.12968/bjon.2014.23.21.1146. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.libproxy.clemson.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=aa4dda47-a1af-4418-9071-054b2962b462%40sessionmgr104&vid=4&hid=107
- Pugh, A. J. (1989, December 17). 'Compassion Fatigue' Hits People Who Care Too Much. Retrieved March 03, 2017, from http://articles.latimes.com/1989-12-17/news/mn-1448_1_compassion-fatigue
- Why Do You Want to Be a Nurse? (2015, August 21). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/Why-Do-You-Want-to-Be-a-Nurse.html