Eliminating Compassion Fatigue: Creating a Culture of Caring

By Nicole Dunham, BSN, RN, CEN

The mission of Premier Health is to “build healthier communities with others who share our commitment to provide high-quality, cost-effective health care services.” When you think big-picture, this is a huge feat! Imagine that it starts with each one of us. Your mental and physical health is vital to the delivery of best patient care, every patient, every time. As a Premier Health employee, it’s important that you feel valued for the work you do.

It is also important that we periodically ask ourselves if we have the same enthusiasm for our job that we once had. Do you feel as passionate about the work you do each and every day? Are you lacking the energy and drive to give patients the time and attention that they need?

According to Creating a Caring Culture Handbook (2013), “compassion fatigue” is defined as “the gradual loss of empathy for others that occurs over time, due to emotional and physical overload”(p. 16). It is a process that occurs over months or years, and is a process for which we are all at risk. The key to preventing and overcoming compassion fatigue and its effects are becoming more self-aware and having good self-care habits.

To address the reality of the need to deal with stress and the changing health care environment today, Premier Health has created a class called “Creating a Culture of Caring.” This two-day, informal course helps increase self-awareness; offers tools to better provide for self-care; develop and manage peer relationships; and keep patients and families at the center. The principles of this program are holistic and focus on “the critical few;” and they serve as the foundation for the curriculum. Additionally, there is focus on identifying team building skills, peer accountability, and personal leadership qualities.

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As a participant in the program, I very much enjoyed meeting Premier Health employees from other locations and departments. It was interesting to hear how we are all slightly different, but ultimately the same. We all value taking care of others, and we all want to do a great job. I left this class feeling rejuvenated, with a new drive to better care for myself and my patients. I learned how to self-reflect, and to better communicate with those around me for the benefit of all, and, most importantly, my patients. I highly recommend this class to everyone. Even if you are not yet at the “burned out” phase, this class is uplifting and motivational at any time in your life.

If you are interested, I encourage you to reach out to your manager. He or she can provide you more information about the program and sponsorship required to attend.

<< Back to the May 2014 Issue

Source: Nicole Dunham, BSN, RN, CEN

Content Updated: May 15, 2014

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