Recognize Compassion Fatigue in Your Nursing Staff

There’s no doubt that it’s been a rough two years for the medical industry. Your nursing staff has been through a lot, and the current situation exacerbates the typical stress and burnout. Compassion fatigue is another level of stress for nursing staff. It’s defined as the emotional strain of exposure to individuals suffering from the consequences of trauma. So what are the signs of compassion fatigue, and what can you offer to help your staff?

Signs and Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

It’s helpful to know the signs and symptoms so you can spot them quickly. They include:

  • Feeling burdened when others are suffering
  • Blaming others for their suffering
  • Self-isolation
  • Not finding pleasure in previously enjoyable tasks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Poor self-care
  • Excessive use of substances

Give Employees Time for Physical and Mental Health

Nurses are notorious for not taking time out for themselves. Even when they’re not at work, they’re often caring for others at home. But they should be encouraged to take time for self-care. Encourage them to take breaks, go outside for a walk, and drink plenty of water. Ensure that your nurses are taking their vacation time.

Provide a Professional Support System

Nurses as caregivers are looked at as the professionals who provide support, but this can take an enormous toll on mental wellbeing. They may believe they are the only people who can solve problems, others and their own. Instead, make sure your team has access to a support system, including mental health professionals who can help them process their feelings and determine new coping tools.

Encourage Emotional Boundary Setting

Your team should also feel empowered to set emotional boundaries. Weak emotional boundaries sometimes cause employees to avoid speaking up when something is wrong, feel underappreciated, say yes when they should feel okay to say no, and give away too much of their time and energy. Give them the space and tools to set their boundaries.

Focus on Purpose

The best thing you can do for your nursing staff is to reinforce the reason they do their job. Appreciate them and remind them that they choose the profession of nursing to feel a sense of purpose. Make sure you provide professional development that helps your nursing staff see how they can thrive today and in the future.

Are you looking to assemble a fantastic healthcare team? Contact NRI Healthcare Staffing today.


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