Nursing School: The First Place You Learn about Compassion Fatigue

Students in nursing schools are subjected to rigorous schedules, difficult class work, new concepts, and hours upon hours of clinical studies. It is a well-known fact that the majority of nursing students battle with fatigue; but even this type of tiredness pales in comparison to compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue is also known as secondary stress disorder and it is a common condition among nurse practitioners and many other related health industry fields. Compassion fatigue is the name for the condition that occurs when a person has been faced with so many traumatic and life-threatening situations, that they develop the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The symptoms of compassion fatigue include anxiety, stress, hopelessness, depression, and general feelings of being unwell. These emotions translate directly to the nurse’s work performance, too. Nurses with compassion fatigue are less productive in their job; they lack the focus on patient care details that can save the lives of patients, persistent bad attitude, and a host of other fall-out consequences.

In nursing schools, student nurses are trained heavily on the topic of compassion fatigue simply because it is very likely to happen to all nurses at some point in their careers. The prospect of going on with this type of condition day after day makes it even harder for student nurses to learn how to cope with the symptoms of compassion fatigue, but it is possible. Millions of nurses deal with the condition on a regular basis in the United States without giving up on their careers or their patients.

Nursing school first help students with compassion fatigue management by pointing out that it can be a hidden problem, lurking among other types of problems. A nurse in a hospital’s emergency room is the prime candidate for compassion fatigue with the constant stresses of trauma after trauma that comes through the doors. However, as nursing classes will tell you, compassion fatigue can hit anyone dealing with health conditions in other people – including nursing student who intend to work in home health care or with people who have disabilities.

Most nursing schools will teach students some of the best ways to identify and manage fatigue in their chosen profession. Since most nurses are subjected to long days and long weeks of working, it is important for student nurses to understand that this grueling schedule will take a toll if the nurse is not eating the proper foods, exercising, and getting enough rest.

It will be extremely important in the future for students to recognize the signs of compassion fatigue and take immediate steps to mitigate the impact on patient care. This includes taking breaks, sitting in the quiet, having comforting items on hand for psychological soothing, and sampling sitting down when you need to rest. While all of things are not always possible, nursing schools can help students learn how to calm down and relax while working and until they can take a real break.