HNN301 : Mental Health Promotion - Compassion Fatigue - Assessment Answer

December 04, 2018
Author : Ashley Simons

Solution Code: 1AJFC

Question:Mental Health Promotion

This assignment is related to ”Mental Health Promotion ” and experts atMy Assignment Services AUsuccessfully delivered HD quality work within the given deadline.

Mental Health Promotion Assignment

Case Scenario

Nursing can be physically and emotionally demanding on a daily basis and this can have an impact on nurses’ wellbeing as well as patient outcomes. This assessment task is an assignment that requires you to demonstrate an understanding of the implications of compassion fatigue on the mental health and wellbeing of registered nurses in the workforce.

Assignment Task

For this assignment, you are required to

1. Use the literature to examine ‘compassion fatigue’ in nursing and demonstrate its impact on the mental health of nurses and

2 . Discuss how nurses’ self-care can contribute to resilience.

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Several studies has shown that nursing profession is very demanding and level of the work related stress is very high. Health care professionals have to provide the patient centered care to the patients, which results in their psychological and physical stress, this condition is referred as Compassion Fatigue. The complex needs of the patient require more support and long term therapies. The degree of involvement with the patient may increase over the time, and nursing professional may go through grief, anxiety, relation conflicts, depression and even physical complaints. This situation is very difficult for the nursing professionals, and also called as an occupational hazard. This paper aims towards examining the term “compassion fatigue”; it would also demonstrate the impact of compassion fatigue on the mental health of the nurses, and will discuss self-care strategies that could be helpful for the nurses to contribute to emotional resilience.

Compassion Fatigue and Its Impact on Nurses

The term ‘compassion fatigue’ was first used by Joinson in the year 1992. This term was formed to explain the condition of nurses complaining about burnout. This term was elaborated by Figley (2001), he provided the compassion stress/fatigue model. According to him, the term refers to “the act of being compassionate means bearing the suffering of others” (Figley, 2002, p. 1434). This term also implies that becoming preoccupied and more involved with the traumatized patients, can lead to compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is also defined as the state of stress and tension with the traumatized patients “by re-experiencing the traumatic events, avoidance/numbing of reminders and persistent arousal associated with the patient” (Figley, 2002, p. 1435)

According to Leiter & Maslach, (2004) burnout is considered as psychological syndrome, which is associated with prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the workplace. (p. 93).Three main components included in burnout are personal efficacy, cynicism, and emotional exhaustion. From all the three components emotional exhaustion is considered as the main element resulting in burnout, which leads to cynicism about one’s profession (Leiter & Maslach, 2004). This condition is also a kind of fatigue. However, compassion fatigue is mainly found in the helping professionals (Adams, Boscarino and Figley 2006).

Literature related to compassion fatigue is limited. According to these studies of Coyle et al. (2005) and Jennings (2008), there are wide ranges of stressor that led to psychological distress in the case of nursing professionals. These stressors impact their role and working capacity. Managing the situation, which is very complex, uncertain, and lack control evoke emotions; thus, becomes very challenging for the nursing staff (Van, 2011).

The risk of compassion fatigue among the nurses working in the healthcare setting was studied by Abendroth and Flannery (2006). According to their study, the nurses working in the hospice setting, emergency care, palliative care, pastoral care and mental healthcare setting face more patient deaths in comparison to other settings. 80% of the study samples, found moderate to high risk of compassion fatigue. The study of Yoder (2010), described the factors that are responsible for triggering compassion fatigue in the nurses. These factors are divided in three categories; caring for patients, system problems, and personal issues (Yoder, 2010, p. 191). Craig and Sprang (2010), examined the impact using an evidence based practice in compassion fatigue. According to their study, age is also a factor which affects the impact of compassion fatigue. The young nursing professionals have the higher level of compassion fatigue and burnouts. However, more experienced nursing staff displayed higher level of compassion satisfaction and significant decrease in compassion fatigue.

Impact of compassion fatigue is very challenging and difficult to handle. The nurses have reported that due to stress, it becomes very difficult for them to handle the workload. They easily feel anger and irritated (emotional stress). The sense of enjoyment and responsibility towards the profession also decreases. Nurses also go through physical problems such as tension, headache, and muscular pain, back pain, pulled muscles, impaired immune system and even jaw pain. The nurses also reported emotional, physical as well as spiritual exhaustion (persuasive hopelessness) (Ray et al., 2013, p. 255). Nurses are more disappointed with their job, and often feel detached (Yoder, 2010, p. 192). The cognitive impact of the compassion fatigue is also seen on the nurses. They feel confused, imagine trauma, feel less attached, have shorter attention, and even lose their self-esteem.

Self-Care and Emotional Resilience

Well-being of the employees is equally important for the organization like the well-being of the patients. It must be understood that employees need to enhance their control and personal resilience in order to stay satisfied with their job. Emotional resilience is very important for the nursing professionals, as it can help them to work positively in the stressful working conditions. This would also help them to manage emotional needs, improve the well-being, and could enhance their professional skills (Grant, & Kinman, 2013). Compassion fatigue is a problem, which could be treated effectively. The professionals themselves can apply various effective strategies, so that they can protect themselves from compassion fatigue.

Self-care plan is the best option for the nursing professionals, to save themselves from workplace stress, burnouts and compassion fatigue. Self care is very important for a professional to develop resilience towards work. The work of nurses requires emotional support towards patients, which leads to emotional stress and pain. This emotional pressure could be improved by developing resilience. Resilience could be defined as the “the ability of an individual to cope with and adapt positively to adverse circumstances” (Grant, & Kinman, 2013, p.4). Resilience is also acknowledged as the personality trait such as hardiness, optimism and self-efficacy. The personal meaning of emotional resilience is different from person to person, but it requires applying a wide range of skills and abilities.

Self-care strategies are very important; these strategies must involve open discussion and recognizing the work place compassion fatigue. The nursing staff can work in a supportive way to reduce their emotional and work stress. The supportive environment must encourage regular breaks, peer support and changing workload. Staff can discuss the impact of workload on their personal and professional life, so that they can find a way to reduce the negative impact (Hooper et al., 2010).

Self-care also involves regular exercise, massage and meditation. Some of the other themes of self-care are diet, stress reducing activities and spending time with own self. Within self-care nurses should take time out for themselves. They must know that when do they need break. Nurses must try to focus on the positive aspects of the work, and should find joy in everything they do. These self-care strategies can help to develop emotional resilience to a great extent (Kravits et al., 2010, p. 132). The professionals should understand their self ability; reflection on personal strengths and limitations can help in fostering many competencies. The professionals should also focus on coping, self-awareness and problem solving skills that could particularly improve resilience. Developing the reflective abilities that includes emotional literacy can help in reducing work place stress and improves resilience.

One of the main strategies of the self-care is emotional intelligence. Developing this ability can significantly enhance resilience. Emotional intelligence is the ability to “motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations: to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathise and to hope” (Grant, & Kinman, 2013, p.7). Emotional intelligence helps in enhancing self-awareness as well as social intelligence. Inter-personal (social intelligence) emotional intelligence helps the professionals to relate with others in empathetically and confidently. While, intra-personal (self-awareness) emotional intelligence allows understanding personal emotional state, build emotional sources and regulate their moods effectively. Thus, emotional intelligence is a very competent self-care factor for the nurses. It helps in enhancing the psychological well being and resilience in the professionals. The nursing professional should also look towards developing social competence, which could be achieved by social communication and problem solving skills. These self care strategies are very significant in contributing towards resilience in nurses.


The profession of nursing is very stress full. Nurses have to face lot of workload, and different work related stressors. During fulfilling their duties, they sometime go through burnouts and compassion fatigue. The paper explained the term compassion fatigue in detail, and also showed that how compassion fatigue could be a major problem for health, well-being and psychological health of nursing professionals. Different scholarly researches have been used in the paper that shows that workplace stressor impact the cognitive, emotional behavioral, spiritual capabilities of nurses. Compassion fatigue results in emotional as well as physical distress. Nurses feel distressed, disappointed and unsatisfied with their job. Such conditions are mainly found in the nurses working in emergency care, palliative care, mental care settings etc. In such settings patients are more dependent on the nurses, and nurses have to provide more emotional and compassionate support to them. This results in developing compassion fatigue.

Self-care strategies for the nurses could be very beneficial in prevention of compassion fatigue. The positive self-care strategies can help in reducing work related stress, and can help professionals to enhance their skills and capabilities. These strategies include exercising, diet, taking breaks while working, developing emotional intelligence and social competence, meditation, and enhancing personal strengths.

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