The more they witness the suffering of patients, the more likely already-stressed physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers will experience compassion fatigue, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report.
Exhausted by the demands of their work and the emotional toll it takes, healthcare providers can begin to feel sensations of panic, dread and fear of encountering more patients and their problems, the article notes.
This is why providers must take steps to protect themselves against burnout by making self-care a priority and to remind themselves of the deeper, spiritual principles at the root of their work.
Compassion is a quality that every provider hopes to bring to their work, but studies have found that nurses and clinicians who are more compassionate with patients suffer more fatigue and stress than their less-connected peers.
The article states that providers who struggle with compassion fatigue can replenish their sense of empathy by:
- Connecting with the patient on an emotional level, finding out something about his or her life that allows them to reconnect with the patient as a "person with a life"
- Maintaining a fulfilling spiritual life outside of work
- Practicing mindfulness
To learn more:
- here's the article