Compassion Fatigue of Nurses

by - February 16, 2021

In today’s situation wherein COVID-19 is still prevalent, most of our nurses are experiencing compassion fatigue. They develop emotional, physical, and spiritual exhaustion because of their never-ending care to those COVID-19 infected individuals. Our nurses are experiencing compassion fatigue because they first hand witness and absorb their client’s problems and sufferings. This kind of emotional distress can actually influence our front liners feelings because it can lead them to have a feeling of fear while interacting with their clients which may result to an impaired nurse-client relationships thus decreasing the quality of care they provide.

According to Allarhbi, Jackson, and Usher (2020), nurses are at risk for developing compassion fatigue because working under COVID-19 facility makes them at risk for infection and might unknowingly infect their family and friends as thus making them reluctant to seek out assistance from their family and friends that leads them to become less compassionate in their workplace. Compassion fatigue can take a great toll to nurses as it increases absenteeism and turnover and lowers morale. Emotional exhaustion during this pandemic is inevitable, that is why it is saddening that they have to experience this kind of distress.

However, according to Ruiz-Fernández et al. (2020), nurses that are working directly to patients with COVID-19 scores low in compassion fatigue but have a high score in compassion satisfaction instead. This just proof that even if they are in a situation with a great difficulty and suffering, they are still committed to do their duties and responsibilities thus allowing them to feel the outcome of their hardwork which is the deep satisfaction rather than fatigue as they see their client’s benefitting from their own efforts. On the other hand, Dosil, Ozamiz-Etxebarria, Redondo, Picaza and Jaureguizar (2021) stated that healthcare professionals are at risk for compassion fatigue while also showing a high level of potential for compassion satisfaction. It just tells us that even if their work contributes for them to experience a high level of stress, their work is also the reason why their stress was outweighs and their exhaustion is being mitigated. Simply, it just conveys us that healthcare professionals can experience both compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction at the same time.

Our front liners are unique in nature that is why it is expected that the level of compassion fatigue of nurses differs from one another. But despite it, actions should be taken in order to prevent the nurses to experience compassion fatigue because the effects of it may result to a negative feedback on the way they provide care to their client. Healthcare institutions should take importance in reducing the compassion fatigue that their nurses are experiencing by providing coping strategies such as compassion skills programmes, psychological care, and ethical advice as it can ultimately strengthen the public health system. A psychological problem like this should not be taken in a light way especially during this time of COVID-19 pandemic because this is a serious matter that could affect the well-being of both nurses and the patients.

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