Monday, January 9, 2012

Nurse Fatigue = Patient Problem

I recently read an interesting article in the January 3rd edition of the “Personal Journal” section of the Wall Street Journal entitled “When Nurses Catch Compassion Fatigue, Patients Suffer”. So what’s “compassion fatigue”? 

According to the article, “compassion fatigue is a combination of secondary traumatic stress from witnessing the suffering of others and burnout.”

So what happens then?  “It can lead nurses to feel sadness and despair that impair their health and well-being.”  Since hospitals are handcuffed with staffing shortages in the first place, this is not good.

Worse yet, compassion fatigue may “reduce nurses’ empathy and lead them to dread or even avoid certain patients raising the risk of substandard care’.

It’s no surprise, then, that it’s also “…linked to decreased productivity, more sick days and higher turnover among cancer-care providers.”

I don't think I ever had a "burned-out" nurse. With one exception, I thought that all of my nurses were pretty good - some were excellent.

Luckily, their seems to be an emerging stress-management program cited in the article that may offer some solutions.
Here’s the link to the article:

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