According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 13 percent of newly licensed RNs were working in a different career within one year of their licensing, and 37 percent indicated they were ready to change jobs. Lack of staffing, trouble with management or salary issues aren’t the only things pushing nurses from the bedside. Significant, ongoing emotional stress is a key contributor that can often go ignored.
Defining the Issue
Multiple terms have been used to describe compassion fatigue, but in its simplest terms, compassion fatigue implies a state of psychic exhaustion where caregivers face severe sense of malaise that results from caring for patients who are in distress over time. Traumatology expert and senior faculty at the Figley Institute, Dr. Charles Figley calls this phenomenon the “cost of caring” for others in emotional pain.
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