There are numerous studies of the health professional indicating that the work environment of the health professionals has an impact on the physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being of the professionals (Sabo, 2008). It is particularly adverse for those dealing with patients that have undergone sexual and physical abuse are the most vulnerable caring for patients with cancer have also been identified as a primary source of stress on the psychosocial health of the caregivers (Sabo, 2008). Three major concepts associated with adverse consequences of the caring work are work-compassion fatigue, burnout, and Vicarious Traumatization.
The compassion fatigue also referred to as Secondary Traumatic Stress occurs to the nurses or caregivers as a result of the engagement with such patients and witnessing the traumatizing event such as cancer pain (Sabo, 2008). It may create tension and preoccupation, and the caregiver may experience re-experiencing of the trauma that the patient had, have an intense apprehension of the conditions and also avoidance. Burnout, on the other hand, is the emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and also the reduced personal accomplishment that may occur to the nurses as a result of the strong bond with the patient in the caregiving work (Sabo, 2008). It occurs due to the strong empathetic feelings and sense of responsibility to the patient. It may also result from work overload if the patients are more than the nurses. Vicarious Traumatization is the negative transformation of the inner caregiver experience due to the empathetic engagement with the patient (Sabo, 2008). It is as a result of the graphic exposure of individuals to the pain and suffering of others.
Activity 2: Journal entry
In the recent past, I have been feeling tired emotionally and also mentally. It is the tiredness that has also left me questioning the meaning of my work anymore. I no longer feel so motivated and wonder if my nursing work is worth it as I to it out of my passion for helping other. I feel like am not of help anymore and I have also lost touch with myself as well, as my friends and family. I feel lonely and abandoned. The enthusiasm, happiness, and energy that I could feel surging through my body a few weeks ago is no longer there.
Strategies to avoid compassion fatigue and burnout
• Start my day with a relaxing ritual including praying and reading something uplifting
• I will also start observing healthy eating, sleeping and exercising habits including stopping unhealthy behavior like drinking.
• I have also decided to set my limit and not to overstretch myself and capacity any longer.