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Compassion Fatigue In Nursing Essay

1739 words - 7 pages

Compassion Fatigue
Keri McDuffie
Grand Canyon University: HLT 310
May 29, 2013

Compassion fatigue was first indentified by Jonson in 1992 when she noticed a group of nurses in the Emergency Department who seemed to have lost their ability to nurture. (Coetzee, Klopper 2010) Compassion fatigue, although identified a decade ago, was never really clarified, defined or explored, leaving nurses predominantly disposition to compassion fatigue unaware of how to identify or how to prevent it from happening. Nurses can experience compassion fatigue when they too begin to feel similar fear, pain and suffering their patients are experiencing, indirectly taking on the patients ...view middle of the document...

(Boyle 2011)
Emotional State of the Helper
The emotional state of the helper describes a person’s ability to interact with the outside world. If a person is typically happy light hearted and tends to see things on the bright side, she or he might have a better chance of not suffering from compassion fatigue then say a depressive down and out type person. For example, let’s say that nurse Jackie is an eager new nurse just starting out in the ED, who has a special relationship with all her patients and finds reward and satisfaction in her job, she has a positive disposition and tries to make light of heavy situations, although she is working extra hours and is overloaded by short staffing she takes pride in her work and believes she makes a difference. On the other hand let’s say nurse Nancy is an older seasoned nurse who has worked on the oncology unit for 15 years, although compassionate, Nancy tends to see the bad in every situation and stresses out when things get rough, she cares for her patients but is always worried she doesn’t do enough to make a difference when it matters most. It’s the difference in the emotional states that makes a difference in how they can process a heavy stressful situation.
Individual Expectations and ability to Process Information
When a situation does not work out the way a person would expect or hoped it to be it can increase a person’s risk for compassion fatigue as well. New nurses are often victims to compassion fatigue often due to unmet expectations of the job. Ne young nurse tend to idealistic and highly motivated are often unprepared for the role ambiguity, heavy workload and changing environment. (Bush 2009) For example, new Nurse Betty has a strong sense of self and believes she is going to make a difference in healthcare, she has strong convictions and often excelled in her studies and was a favorite in clinical, always going the extra mile to make a difference, after school she got a job in ED where she had a constant heavy fast paced workload, where no matter how hard she tried it never seemed to make a difference, patients did not take to her as well as those in school and because of the fast paced environment found herself making more mistakes then usual, she was falling short of the picture she had painted for herself, and was now unsure of her commitment to nursing. She was falling short of the expectations of not only her job but herself, making her predisposed to compassion fatigue.
Ego Defensive Processes
How well a person can handle stress and process traumatic can also increase the risk for compassion fatigue. A highly sensitive easily manipulated individual is a nurse on a trauma floor, working with patients in a constant state of pain who have experienced traumatic events who will look to the nurse for support, will not be able to cope with all the stress associated with that type of environment, it is just simply too much to process and being highly sensitive will only make...

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