Nurses to Tackle Compassion Fatigue

3 Tips for Nurses to Tackle Compassion Fatigue

In today’s dynamic era, every industry and sector is witnessing rapid and unprecedented transformations, whether at the hands of technology or environmental changes. While these transformations promise lucrative results, at times, they pose grave challenges to the workflow and operational mechanisms of some industries. In this regard, the healthcare sector has been witnessing significant developments in the areas of technology, research, and enhanced healthcare delivery.

Evolving Healthcare Dynamics

From groundbreaking technological advancements to new modes of healthcare delivery, the sector is ever-evolving with each passing year. Nonetheless, change always comes with its fair share of challenges and obstacles. Due to the developments in the healthcare field, the role and responsibilities of healthcare workers are expanding. For instance, to ensure that every healthcare worker properly leverages Telehealth services, they must improve their technological proficiency. Likewise, health experts must identify and devise treatment options for emerging diseases and viruses to address environmental changes.

For this reason, nurses are enhancing their skill set to remain abreast of the evolving needs and demands of the healthcare sector. Today, you’ll come across nurses pursuing online MSN programs to upskill and prepare themselves for the future. So, if you’re seeking to excel in the healthcare industry, it’s indispensable to update your academic credentials and career profile. Fortunately, given the ease of eLearning, you can Complete Your MSN in Nursing Degree online while attaining work exposure.

While these transformations are beneficial for the healthcare sector and the community, they pose significant threats for healthcare workers. Given their increasing workload, healthcare workers, especially nurses, have plunged deep into the pits of burnout and anxiety. Amidst this, nurses are constantly battling compassion fatigue that stems from workplace stress. To further understand compassion fatigue and how nurses can tackle it, let’s look below:

  • Learn About Compassion Fatigue

Regardless of how long they’ve been in this profession, most nurses are oblivious to the concept of compassion fatigue. If you don’t know you’re vulnerable to compassion fatigue, you won’t recognize its symptoms. Consequently, you won’t do anything about them either and remain under the impression that you’re having a hard time at work and that this is how it’s supposed to be. Therefore, it’s crucial to notice the symptoms of compassion fatigue to tackle them before the situation further escalates.

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The symptoms may include:

  • Feelings of anger, irritability, and frustration
  • Feeling less empathetic for your patients
  • Abhorring your job or your patients
  • Persistent headaches
  • Constant anxiety
  • Depersonalization
  • Failure to make or maintain personal relationships
  • Inability to sleep at night
  • Deteriorating physical health or weight loss
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Forgetfulness
  • Career stagnation

Once you recognize the symptoms, you’ll be able to overcome them and prevent or manage compassion fatigue. Keeping a checklist of all the symptoms can help. For instance, if you tick 6-7 out of 10 boxes, it’s a sign to start doing something about your compassion fatigue. If you tick 8-9, it means you’re already in the danger zone.

Remember, it’s not just your work, but your personal life stressors can also aggravate or foster compassion fatigue. And this may happen when you have children or older adults at home who need attentive care at all times.

  • Make Self-Care a Priority

As mentioned earlier, you must first help yourself to be able to help others. If you don’t take care of yourself, how do you expect to perform during the same stressful environment every day? If you consistently care for other people’s needs, you might end up ignoring your own. Nowadays, it’s common for nurses to practice self-care regularly to avoid burnout. To do that, you must first get your eating and sleeping habits on track.

Eat full and nutritional meals. Never skip a meal in the line of work. Alongside this, try to ensure 8-hours of undisturbed sleep. Understandably, this can be impossible to achieve considering the grueling long schedules and late-night calls. So, take breaks in between shifts, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Also, maintain a healthy work-life balance so that you and others around you don’t think that your life is all about your job and nothing else.

  • Cultivate a Healthy Life Outside Work
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Half of your compassion fatigue is triggered by a deteriorated work-life balance. Compassion fatigue is inevitable when you have nothing but work on your mind. Therefore, make time for personal hobbies outside work. Even when you don’t have much time on your hands, prioritize exercise or socializing. Invest your time in yoga and meditation. Go for long runs, make new friends over there.

It’s healthier to form friendships outside work for the sake of your emotional well-being. If you only hang out with your coworkers or family, you’ll constantly engage in conversations about your job or career. As a result, it’ll become difficult to escape from the never-ending work loop. For this reason, socialize with people at the gym or even at the local café to relieve your mind.

For some people, socializing can further elevate their compassion fatigue as they’re consistently surrounded by other people at work too. In such cases, take some time off for yourself. Go for lunches alone, wake up early, and so forth. All of this “me-time” can be profoundly therapeutic.

The Bottom Line

Compassion fatigue, a new concept for some, is often difficult to recognize. However, it completely derails your personal and professional life, and you cease to function eventually. To combat compassion fatigue, you must first identify the symptoms. As a result, you can make healthy alterations in your lifestyle to manage or prevent compassion fatigue.

For starters, you need to practice self-care regularly, which means monitoring your diet, sleep cycle, and exercise activities. Having a healthy social life or some “me-time” outside work can also help.