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Compassion Fatigue

Abigail Hansen


Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue is a growing problem in the field of nursing. It is described as a

work-related stress response in healthcare providers that is considered a cost of caring and a

key contributor to the loss of compassion in healthcare. (Sinclair et al., 2017) As a caretaker

does their job they become desensitized and lose their ability to nurture and care effectively for

their patient. This desensitization can be caused by uninterrupted, lengthy, intense contact with

patients as well as poor nurse staffing, harmful work environments, and heavy workloads.

(Henson, 2017)

Symptoms of compassion fatigue can display themselves as physical, behavioral,

psychological, and spiritual and can have a huge effect on the healthcare providers identity and

overall well-being. The symptoms can vary from exhaustion, depression, and compromised

immunity to poor judgement, increased alcohol intake, and strained personal relationships.

(Sinclair et al., 2017) Compassion fatigue not only affects the caretakers work life but their life

at home as well. When a nurse loses their compassion and feels the stresses that come with

compassion fatigue they are more likely to have anxiety at work and home. (Henson, 2017)

In order to prevent and minimize this issue in the medical field it is important to allow

nurses to nurture themselves. Ensure that support and counseling is available for all nursing staff

and that education is accessible on how to cope with the stresses of the career. A good balance of

work and personal life is so important. Interventions for compassion fatigue include; exercise,

good nutrition, and maintaining healthy social-networks. Taking time to participate in activities

that encourage relaxation and rejuvenation is so important for emotional and mental well-being.

Taking time for personal activities and self-care can have a huge influence on the prevention of

compassion fatigue in the work place.



Sinclair, S., Raffin-Bouchal, S., Venturato, L., Mijovic-Kondejewski, J., & Smith-MacDonald,

L. (2017). Review: Compassion fatigue: A meta-narrative review of the healthcare

literature. International Journal Of Nursing Studies, 699-24.


Henson, J. S. (2017). When Compassion Is Lost. MEDSURG Nursing, 26(2), 139-142.