How to Combat Compassion Fatigue in Nursing

Compassion fatigue, especially in stressful positions such as nursing, is such a growing concern that there are organizations dedicated to spreading awareness about it. Healthcare positions put a large emotional toll on its employees, who are faced with challenges on a daily basis that can be devastating and exhausting on an emotional, mental, and physical level.compassion-fatigue-in-nursing

Compassion fatigue in nursing is a common occurrence that can put a huge burden on its bearer. However, there are ways to fight it.

What is compassion fatigue in nursing?

The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project defines compassion fatigue as the negative attitude and emotional tension resulting from working in a caregiving environment. Nurses are constantly caring for patients with extreme and heart-wrenching issues, many of which cannot be cured or remedied. The constant nurturing required of nurses in these situations can be a heavy drain, and eventually, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Blaming and complaining excessively,
  • Isolating oneself from others,
  • Bottling up emotions,
  • Lacking of self-care such as hygiene and hobbies,
  • Insomnia,
  • Apathy,
  • And more.

These are common symptoms of compassion fatigue, but there could be more or less depending on the person.

Fighting the fatigue

There as ways to fight compassion fatigue in nursing. According to the Emergency Nurses Association, there are a few keys ways to help prevent it from happening:

  • Taking care of the self by participating in revitalizing activities outside of work, such as exercise and hobbies.
  • Learning to leave toxicity at work and focusing on the core of the job as a nurse: the patients.
  • Establishing a strong peer-support system and being positive with coworkers.
  • Remaining calm and focused during stressful and traumatic situations.

Obviously, these tips are easier said than done. But those who try to follow them are more likely to escape compassion fatigue in nursing, and experience better mental and emotional health all around.

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