Compassion Fatigue Essay

2038 Words Mar 20th, 2012 9 Pages

Compassion Fatigue: Caring for the Caregiver
Kimberly Flowers
Grand Canyon University
Spirituality in Health Care
Patricia Mullen
March 24, 2012

Compassion Fatigue: Caring for the Caregiver Introduction
Compassion represents an “acknowledgement of another’s suffering and is accompanied by the expression of a desire to ease or end that suffering.” (Van der Cingal, 2009, p. 124) This is a fundamental characteristic usually found in health care workers and nurses especially. In one twelve hour shift, a nurse’s job can change from taking vitals and administering medications to performing life saving measures
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This person may suffer from sudden emotional outburst, such as crying for even the smallest of issues or may become totally detached as to show no emotions. They often exhibit paranoia and have difficulty working with a team. (Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, 2012, ¶ 2) Other symptoms that are physical in nature can be heart palpitations and stomach problems. Apathy
Apathy can be described as a “lack of interest or concern; lack of feeling or emotion.” (“Apathy“, 2012, ¶ 1) Once the emotional reserves are depleted and there is nothing left to give, the once enthusiastic caregiver’s attitude may appear to be apathetic, pre-occupied or uncaring. The psychological part of one’s self can only endure so much emotional burden before it shuts down and becomes numb to all emotions or apathetic. Apathy causes inner turmoil with feelings of inadequacy and lack of accomplishment. One may perceive their work as a burden and is no longer able to find pleasure in activities. Once these feelings are present, the nurse may be less productive and unable to concentrate which will decrease the quality of work accomplished. Often this trend leads to tardiness and absenteeism, complaints from others and can eventually end in job termination. (Espeland, 2006, p. 180) Depression
Along with apathy, depression is common among nurses and

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