SDW news brief: When nurses catch compassion fatigue, patients suffer

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, January 13, 2012

Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis is now offering a program to help nurses battle compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue, a combination of burnout and secondary traumatic stress from witnessing others suffer, can lead to feelings of sadness and despair. It has been linked to impaired health, more sick days, decreased job performance, and high turnover. Compassion fatigue also presents a risk of substandard care and lower patient safety when nurses disengage from patients or leave other nurses to take on an increased workload. The program at Barnes-Jewish, like many emerging programs, offers workshops in meditation and stress reduction, support groups, and staff retreats to teach nurses how to handle the physical and emotional demands of the occupation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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