Compassion Fatigue: Concept Analysis paper
Write a concept Analysis paper on the topic of “Compassion Fatigue”. Your paper should include the following
Introduction of the concept “Compassion fatigue”: This should include the purpose of the analysis and the significance to nursing practice, education, and/or nursing research.
Analysis of concept: Follow the eight steps of concept analysis as presented by Walker and Avant (p. 79-81 McEwen text).
Comparison: Synthesize the findings in your concept analysis with what you have found in the literature.
How can this concept be used in professional nursing practice, education, and/or nursing research?
How can this concept advance the theoretical basis of nursing as a science?
Note: (Example of the article “Alarm Fatigue” using Walker and Avant method is uploaded for reference as well)
Compassionate care is the cornerstone of the nursing practice, and compassion fatigue halts the perpetuation of empathy in nursing care resulting in erosion of the nurse’s spirit, body, and mind. Compassion fatigue occurs when a nurse experiences a decrease in empathetic ability due to exposure to the sufferings of others. The aim of this concept analysis paper is to clarify the concept of compassion fatigue for the formulation of mitigation and prevention methods in the nursing profession. Concept clarity is significant in the nursing practice, education, and research, and in the case of compassion fatigue, clarity of the concept will facilitate curtailing of the concept through the establishment of preventive and restorative measures.
Analysis of the Concept
The concept will be analyzed using the eight-step model developed by Walker and Avant. The eight steps include choosing the concept, outlining the purpose, determining the use of the concept, a description of the attributes, a model case and additional situation, identifying antecedents and consequences, and establishing empirical indicators (McEwen & Wills, 2014).
Nurses provide hourly and daily care to patients and families and tend to witness trauma, death, loss, and grief. The nurses become vulnerable to compassion fatigue as their ability to show empathy and sympathy reduces, resulting in an adverse impact on the physical, emotional, and psychological health of the nurses. The nursing profession is built on compassionate care as nurses must have a sympathetic consciousness of the distress of others and the desire to relieve the distress. Compassion requires sensitivity, sympathy, empathy, tolerance of distress, and the motivation to relieve others of distress. Compassionate care has been associated with better experiences for caregivers and patients, increased patient satisfaction, reduced employee turnover rates, and better patient clinical outcomes (Upton, 2018). Compassion fatigue is, therefore, a crucial concept in the nursing profession and needs to be analyzed.
The Purpose of the Analysis
The analysis will facilitate the clarification of the meaning of compassion fatigue in the nursing profession, how it applies in the education field of nursing and research. An operational definition of the concept will be determined by distinguishing between the ordinary and scientific meaning of compassion fatigue. Clarifying the concept’s meaning will boost its usage in practice and research, especially in establishing effective strategies for addressing compassion fatigue to promote compassionate care.
Uses of the Concept
There are various definitions of compassion fatigue. The concept comprises of two terms; compassion and fatigue. Compassion refers to having pity, or the desire to aid others, while fatigue refers to exhaustion from labor, stress, and exertion (Cross, 2019). In the medical field, fatigue is placed in the context of health care professionals experiencing diminished capacity for work in both physical and mental domains. The ordinary definition of the concept from the Merriam-Webster dictionary refers to indifference towards sufferings due to over-exposure to tragic events and the subsequent appeal for support and assistance. The dictionary definition related to the medical field is mental and physical exhaustion characterized by emotional withdrawal experienced by caregivers. According to the APA dictionary, compassion fatigue is defined as stress-related symptoms and burnout experienced by caregivers and other health care professionals in response to working with traumatized people over a long period (American Psychological Association, 2021). The concept was first introduced as a synonym for burnout. Another synonym that emerged with time is secondary traumatic stress disorder (STSD). Unlike burnout, which results from stress due to everyday work, compassion fatigue results from taking the emotional burden of others. STSD only focuses on second-hand trauma but does not necessarily entail empathetic response and direct care to patients (Cross, 2019). For compassion fatigue, the exhaustion has to comprise of the emotional burden and desire to aid others.
The Defining Attributes
According to Walker and Avant, defining attributes refer to characteristics frequently associated with the concept and repeatedly appear in the literature (West & Abbott, 2014). Defining attributes of compassion fatigue are made up of five domains, including emotional and psychological, physical, intellectual and professional, social and spiritual elements. The defining attributes include psychological or emotional empathy imbalance, which can constitute excessive empathy or reduced empathy. Another attribute is professional and intellectual diminished performance. Other attributes include increased physical complaints such as headaches, sleep loss, headaches; inability to share feelings evident in poor interpersonal relationships; and poor judgment.
A Model Case
A model case has all the defining attributes of the concepts. The following example is the model case of the concept with all the defining attributes:
M.S. Asha has been a nurse for ten years. For the last one year, she had worked with COVID-19 patients. During this period, she has experienced an increased workload while working overtime. She is always overwhelmed with the number of death of patients per day. She engages less in communication with patients for assurance of recovering compared to her behavior before. She experiences trouble sleeping, argues a lot with her mother at home. She almost injected the patient with an overdose, and she missed an indication of medication allergy on a patient’s file, although the patient received timely care. Currently, she reports working because she has as the previous drive has diminished.
The case shows all the defining attributes of the concept. Emotional empathy imbalance is evident in reduced engagement with patients. Physical complaints include trouble sleeping. Diminished professional performance and poor judgment are evident in medical errors committed. The increased argument is a sign of poor interpersonal relationships.