Nurses deal with battle fatigue in the fight against burnout

January 3, 2012

Being a caregiver for someone who’s ill or injured comes at a cost.

Oncology nurse Willa Roney and patient Frank Ratino

Sometimes that cost is emotional. Sometimes it’s physical. It doesn’t matter if the caregiver is a paid professional or a family member or friend.  

If the caregiver doesn’t take time to take care of themselves, they and the patient can end up suffering. The caregiver can suffer from compassion fatigue, a kind of secondary traumatic stress disease that can manifest in depression, burnout, disengagement and depersonalization.

A caregiver with compassion fatigue can end up giving less compassionate, effective care, causing the patient to suffer.

When Siteman Cancer Center and Barnes-Jewish oncology nurse managers approached Pat Potter, director of research for patient care services, and Teresa Deshields, director of psycho-oncology services for Siteman Cancer Center, about boosting morale among their staff, Potter and Deshields, turned to compassion fatigue expert Eric Gentry.

Together, funded by a grant from the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, they developed a program to teach skills to nurses that would make them more resilient and able to battle compassion fatigue. The program is now rolling out to the entire hospital.

See what the Wall Street Journal has to say about the program and read more about the program here.

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Category: Foundation (Giving), Nursing, Our Staff, Research, Siteman Cancer Center

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  1. purplehaze81 says:

    There is some really good information here. Health Care Professionals are constantly at war with compassion fatigue and I am saddened to know that there is not much out there in terms of support for those who are suffering. Yes there is tonnes of literature on this topic and even some self-care tips but one of the things that some of the tips suggest is to talk to someone. What happens if the professional doesn’t have anyone to talk to or wants to seek professional support – where do they turn?
    Thank you to all health care professionals for all that you do.
    Please visit my website http://fatiguebegone.me

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