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Online J Issues Nurs. 2011 Jan 31;16(1):2. doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol16No01Man02.

Countering compassion fatigue: a requisite nursing agenda.

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Nurses have a longstanding history of witnessing the tragedy experienced by patients and families; however, their own reactions to profound loss and premature death have not been systematically addressed. There is a paucity of research describing interventions to prevent or minimize the ramifications of repeated exposure to traumatic events in the clinical workplace. Compassion fatigue is a contemporary label affixed to the concept of personal vicarious exposure to trauma on a regular basis. Yet this phenomenon of compassion fatigue lacks clarity. In this article, the author begins by describing compassion fatigue and distinguishing compassion fatigue from burnout. Next she discusses risk factors for, and the assessment of compassion fatigue. The need to support nurses who witness tragedy and workplace interventions to confront compassion fatigue are described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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