In a great article, Peters (2018) explores research by multiple experts in the field of CF and burnout in nursing and identifies six characteristics that can lead to CF:

  1. Long-term exposure to suffering in patients
  2. The ability to be compassionate
  3. The inability to maintain professional boundaries at work
  4. High use of self at work
  5. Exposure to soaring stress levels
  6. Lack of self-care

As noted above, four of the six characteristics that can lead to CF are out of nurses’ control because compassion is required in nursing, and exposure to long-term suffering, high use of self, and soaring stress levels are part of working as a nurse in this healthcare crisis.

However, the good news is that maintaining professional boundaries at work and self-care are two characteristics that are entirely under the nurse’s control. This information is highly empowering for nurses!

Compassion fatigue and burnout can be avoided or managed, if not beaten, if and when nurses do the appropriate work on maintaining professional boundaries and self-care. Please look at the Four-Step Program in my book to see the steps you can take to ensure you care for yourself. Never forget, you’re worth it!

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