Key Strategies to Overcoming Compassion Fatigue

Nursing can be a very stressful field both physically and mentally.  Everyday nurses have to witness fear, pain, and suffering of others.  It’s easy to get emotionally attached to patients and become distraught when they aren’t doing very well.  However, when you become too immersed in the battles your patients are facing, you put yourself at risk of “compassion fatigue.”

Compassion fatigue, also known as “secondary post-traumatic stress” is characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time.  Victims suffer from several symptoms such as hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, continual stress and anxiety, sleeplessness, and prevalent negativity.

If you’re emotionally drained and feel you’re starting to suffer from compassion fatigue, the following strategies can be used to help you overcome it.


Though you may feel like you’re just too tired or don’t have time for it, exercise provides numerous mental and physical benefits.  Thirty minutes of exercise, three times a week will increase your productivity exponentially and help clear your mind.  A simple Google search will even bring up 8 to 10 minute workouts you can do while on the job.

Make time for family and friends.

When you’re stressed, it’s a natural reaction to want to shut out the things you actually need most.  Thinking about declining that invite to dinner with friends? Don’t.  Spending time with supportive people helps eliminate compassion fatigue.  Take time to relax with friends and family, even though Netflix might sound like the better option.

Set boundaries between work and personal life.  

The best way to stop compassion fatigue is to leave your work at work. When your shift is over, take off your “nurse hat.” Avoid playing nurse or therapist in your personal relationships.

Join a network of like-minded professionals.

Though hanging out with friends and family is a great way to revitalize, sometimes you need to discuss feelings about work with someone who will understand.  Get involved professional or social organizations to broaden your network of nurse friends. This will give you an opportunity to meet with like-minded people and discuss mutual challenges and events.

Looking for a new nursing opportunity to help you overcome compassion fatigue?

Let the recruiters at BOS Medical help. Whether you’re looking for long- or short-term employment, we have a variety of nursing positions in Athens, GA, Gainesville, GA, and beyond.  Contact a recruiter today and you’ll be onto your next job in no time.

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