Compassion Fatigue and Burnout


Being a physician or other healthcare provider is not at all easy! It includes lots and lots of paper work, long shifts, physical and emotional exhaustion and so much more. All of these things causes stress or we can say ‘Compassion Fatigue’ in healthcare service providers. And it is very obvious. You can’t be the same energetic, enthusiastic person at the end of the day as you were in the beginning. Especially, being a doctor, some questions may arise like “How much longer can I keep going like this?” Or “what’s the use?” Healthcare professionals are more stressed due to increase costs, reduced staff and moreover decreasing resources. In their early years, when they see their patients suffering through pain they take it as a challenge to heal their patients. But after some years of continuing service, providers start feeling bogged down and say to  themselves “I just give and now I am tired.”

In Healthcare term, we call it ‘Compassion Fatigue’ – It is basically a combination of two terms. One is ‘Burnout’ and another one is ‘Traumatic Stress’. But ‘Burnout’ and’ Compassion Fatigue’ are somewhat different. Compassion Fatigue is caused when the healthcare provider deeply cares for his patients while on the other hand, Burnout is a result of overworking. Burnout is something which will affect every healthcare professional at some point in their career. Some of the symptoms of Burnout are:

  1. Depersonalization
  2. Loss of interest
  3. Emotional and physical fatigue
  4. Feeling hopeless and irritable much often
  5. Impaired decision making
  6. diminished sense of career fulfillment
  7. Reduced feeling of empathy and sympathy and many more..

Both Compassion Fatigue and Burnout causes emotional detachment from work and as a result healthcare providers start seeing patients as objects which reduce the safety and quality of healthcare provided. Therefore, special attention must be given so that these problems do not become hazards to your profession. There are many strategies that one can adopt both at home or during work to reduce the burden of work or prevent burnout. Some of them are:

  1. Most effective one is Meditation. It relaxes your mind and boost up your energy and enthusiasm
  2. Taking a walk
  3. Deep breathing
  4. Talking with friends or family

Both the organization and healthcare provider can take necessary steps to prevent or reduce Compassion Fatigue and burnout at their respective level.

At organization level, it should provide forums for employee’s feedback and should try to address their problems before they get worse. Prevent your staff from doing overwork by giving them sufficient breaks from work do that they resume their work with same level of energy.

What you can do for yourself to reduce stress? Take proper and healthy diet, Include restful sleep in your daily routine and properly balance your professional and personal life. Implement them, work positively and don’t let compassion fatigue and burnout affect your profession.

To know more about Compassion Fatigue and Burnout, join our upcoming live webcast on April 4th; Click here

Dealing with Compassion Fatigue & Burnout in the Medical Field

Being a physician or other healthcare provider is not at all easy! It includes lots and lots of paper work, long shifts, physical and emotional exhaustion and so much ...
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