Essay on Combating Compassion Fatigue

1510 Words Sep 12th, 2015 7 Pages
Healthcare providers are at increased risk for compassion fatigue (CF), which has also been called secondary traumatic stress, second hand shock syndrome, secondary stress reaction, and vicarious trauma (ABA, 2011). Compassion fatigue begins to become an issue when caregivers give too much of themselves to others and neglect to provide for their own needs. Neglecting one’s personal needs can be harmful, leading to destructive behaviors and patterns, such as over indulgence and increased sick calls. Over time the provider has a decreased ability to show compassion. This paper will discuss and describe compassion fatigue, warning signs of compassion fatigue, and discuss recovery options for those suffering from compassion fatigue. …show more content…
Warning Signs
The warning signs for compassion fatigue may include; decreased interest or concern, heightened arousal, startling easily, isolating, depression, anger, manifestation of physical illnesses, increased irritability, substance and alcohol abuse, overeating, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, and decreased ability to balance empathy and objectivity (Pfifferling & Gilley, 2000). Those suffering from compassion fatigue have described the feeling of being out of control, and the more work or care the provider does for others, the less compassionate they feel until they feel hopeless, helpless, as though they have nothing else to give. Some providers may be more easily susceptible to compassion fatigue after experiencing personal trauma. While the effects of compassion fatigue can cause confusion, anxiety and heartache, one important key to recovery is to identify the symptoms, so the healthcare worker can work towards self-restoration and recovery.
Causes of Compassion Fatigue
The incidence of compassion fatigue is increasing due to the heavy responsibilities placed on nurses and other providers, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Compassion can be a limited resource, our system is rooted in cognitive networks that tire and need refueling (Carey, 2011). Healthcare workers spend more time charting than…