It’s harmful to a nurse, it’s harmful to your patients and most of us will experience compassion fatigue at some point in our career. Nurses suffering from compassion fatigue are more likely to miss important signs
Recently, I spent an education day, and one of the topics was compassion fatigue. The treatment? Time off work. Time away from the heaviest, most emotionally challenging patients. My floor has an obs side and 2 “heavy” sides. I recently asked for a break from the “heavy” sides to help relieve some of the fatigue I felt. It really did help.
Those “mental health days” so many of us take? Really do help relieve compassion fatigue and help us to be better at our jobs.
I’ve also started to work on budgeting the amount of compassion I give out during my set of shifts each week. By my 3rd shift in a row on the heavy floors, I have a really hard time mustering the urge to give a shit about a lot of what is going on that’s not vital. So I’m working on budgeting my compassion so that it lasts for more than 2 days at a time.
That might sound callous, but it’s working. I feel like I am more present with my patients, and I’m definitely less tired at the end of my shift.