Search for school

How Nurses Fight Compassion Fatigue

The challenges of nursing don’t just lie in the physical and intellectual components of the job. Often, it is the emotional element of nursing that can be the most draining. As nurses tend to sick, frightened patients and deal with concerned family members day after day, it can take an emotional toll that bleeds into both their professional and personal lives.

How to Deal with Compassion Fatigue as a Nurse

Compassion fatigue is a form of secondary traumatic stress, an offshoot of post traumatic stress disorder, according to Psychology Today, which stems from dealing with the trauma experienced by others. It doesn’t require a major event to come about. It often transpires over months or years of nursing due to the constant exposure of nurses to traumatic situations and the suffering of others.

When fatigued, nurses may begin to turn off their emotional connections to their patients and even their loved ones. They may become numbed to the emotions of others, and suffer a variety of symptoms.

Major psychological warning signs of compassion fatigue in nurses, according to Nursing World, include:

•Anger
•Feelings of inadequacy
•A decrease in personal satisfaction
•Irritability
•Anxiety
•Depression
•Low self-esteem
•Loss of personal and professional enjoyment
•Feelings of hopelessness
•Decreased empathy
•Mood swings

Major physical warning signs include:

•Exhaustion
•Headaches
•Stomach issues
•Nausea
•Dizziness

Since compassion fatigue doesn’t come on all at once, generally sneaking up on those who suffer from it, nurses and the people around them may fail to notice there’s a problem. This makes it essential for nurses to stay on top of their own health while caring for others, so they can recognize changes in their physical or mental states as they come about. Symptoms that cannot be otherwise explained may be based in the burnout known as compassion fatigue.

Fighting Nurses Compassion Fatigue

The good news for nurses is that the simplest means of fighting nurses’ compassion fatigue may also be the most effective method. Nurses who become fatigued often do so because they fail to care for themselves, as well as care for their patients. By putting effort into their own physical and emotional well-being, they can combat the effects of fashion fatigue and reverse the fatigue process.

For nurses working long hours, this may be more easily said than done. This is especially true when full-time nurses have other life responsibilities, such as caring for children or aging parents. Between work and home life, there may be no time left at the end of the day for nurses to think about themselves.

Self-consideration is exactly what nurses need in order to fight the effects of compassion fatigue, though. The best way to fight fatigue is to prevent it, which nurses can do by living a healthy lifestyle, including eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water, and exercising. Once nurses begin to experience unexplainable symptoms that could stem from compassion fatigue, they need to reconsider their day to day lives to make sure they have some time for themselves.

Alone time for nurses doesn’t have to be spent meditating or affirming themselves. Nurses simply need to spend some time away from caring for other people. It may be as simple as putting the kids to bed a little earlier each night and spending an hour reading or watching TV, instead of making lunches and cleaning up.

Getting Help for Nursing Compassion Fatigue

It may be impossible to prevent some compassion fatigue from the job, but nurses can help each other by creating a nurturing work environment. When nurses can talk about the stresses of the job with each other, no one has to carry those stresses alone.

If self-care and a support system at work don’t prevent the effects of compassion fatigue from taking hold, though, it may be time to take a step back from the job. Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project founder Patricia Smith recommends talking to a supervisor about cutting back on hours and getting more help at home.

Compassion fatigue cannot be prevented through will-power alone. Overcoming the fatigue that stems from dealing with others pain and suffering takes a concerted effort. Nurses, who take the time to care for themselves, admit when they start to feel burnt out, and take steps to reduce their fatigue can regain their sense of self and faltering empathy.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association

Purdue University Global

Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.

Programs:

  • BS in Business Administration
  • MS in Accounting - Audit Specialization
  • AAS in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

Colorado Technical University Online

A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
  • Master of Science in Information Technology - Network Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Human Services
  • And more...

South University Online

As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

Programs:

  • Nurse Educator (PGC)
  • Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • Master of Science in Human Resources Management
  • And more...

Argosy University Online

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges.

Programs:

  • Business Administration (BS)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)
  • Liberal Arts (BA)
  • And more...

Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance schools are distinguished institutes committed to the education and personal enrichment of each student interested in the Aviation Industry.

Programs:

  • Aviation Maintenance Technician
  • Aviation Maintenance Technical Engineer

Ashworth College

Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.

Programs:

  • Payroll Clerk
  • Private Investigation
  • High School
  • And more...

California Intercontinental University

Advance your career with an online degree from California InterContinental University.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Engineering Information Technology Emphasis in Network and Systems Security (BEITNSS)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Information Technology in Project Management (BEITPM)
  • Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and Leadership (MBAHCML)
  • And more...

Ohio University - Online

Ohio University has offered distance learning educational opportunities for more than 100 years.

Programs:

  • Master of Business Analytics
  • Master of Health Administration

ECPI University

Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.

 

What Are You Waiting For?

Programs:

  • Cloud Computing - Bachelor's
  • Cyber and Network Security - Bachelor's
  • Network Security - Associate's
  • And more...

University of North Dakota

Whether you’re looking to advance in your current role or transition into a new one, UND’s online Master of Science in Cyber Security is a great choice. Our master’s program allows you to complete general coursework or specialize in one of three areas that can prepare you for leadership in the growing field of cyber security.

 

Choose from four tracks:

- Autonomous Systems Cyber Security

- Data Security

- Cyber Security and Behavior

- General Cyber Security

 

100% Online. Transfer credits accepted. 20 months to complete. No prior work or education experience required.

 

About University of North Dakota:

UND is ranked alongside Stanford, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) among the Top 25 Most Innovative Schools by US News and World Report. Our groundbreaking discoveries, economic impact and notable alumni are a testament to our belief that results matter. Our online master’s in cyber security program is offered through the UND College of Engineering & Mines (CEM) — one of the most well-respected engineering schools in the upper Midwest. That means when it comes to quality, you can be confident in UND.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Cyber Security

Full Sail University - Online

Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

Programs:

  • Cloud Technologies Bachelors - Online
  • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
  • And more...

Concordia University - Portland

Online Learning at Concordia University–Portland

Programs:

  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Environmental Education
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Curriculum & Instruction: Early Childhood Education
  • And more...

Regis College

As a leader in education, Regis is dedicated to offering programs with a holistic view of health services that are designed for the future of the field. Through cutting-edge coursework, industry-active faculty members, and an array of majors and graduate programs, Regis has been able to positively impact the educational community, health services landscape, and personal lives of students nationwide.

Programs:

  • Online Master of Public Health - Epidemiology Concentration
  • Online Master of Public Health
  • Online Master of Health Administration
  • And more...

Related Post

How to Obtain a Career in Correctional Nursing

Choosing to become a corrections nurse is a decision that should not be taken lightly. A corrections nurse is responsible for attending to inmates at correctional facilities across the country.

Why Taking a NCLEX Refresher Course is Important

Every licensed nurse in the United States has gone through the grueling experience of taking the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, and most likely every nurse can verify that an NCLEX