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Burnout and compassion fatigue definitions, signs, symptoms, strategies to recognize, prevent and overcome them from a physical, emotional and spiritual perspective. This is for health care workers, and care takers of sick family members. There are speaker notes for this presentation too. If you would like a copy please email me here or at my email address located on the first slide.

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combating burnout and compassion fatigue care givers and professionals

Combating Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: Care Givers and Professionals

Grand Canyon University

Ralph Quinones RN


March 7, 2010


contents there are notes for this slide show email
Contents There are notes for this slide show; email.

Burnout definition

Compassion fatigue definition

Warning Signs

Nature of the problems they can cause

Physical indications and needs

Emotional indications and needs

Spiritual indications and needs

Coping strategies

Resources for help and hope

burnout definition
Burnout Definition


"a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who do 'people work' of some kind”

(Maslach, 1982, p. 3).

compassion fatigue definition
Compassion Fatigue Definition


Care Giver

“The notion of being burned out by the kind of work that you do, the kind of patients and families that you deal with and the residue from ministering to those hurting people”

(Health Chaplains Ministry Association [HCMA], 2005, ¶ 4).

“It is not about problems and hassles at work, but it is about the stress associated with the clients you deal with” (HCMA, ¶ 4).

warning signs of burnout and compassion fatigue
Warning Signs of Burnout and Compassion Fatigue



Boredom and Cynicism

Increased Impatience and Irritability

A Sense of Omnipotence

Feelings of Being Unappreciated

Change of Work-Style



Psychosomatic Complaints


Major Depression

Suicidal Thinking

(HCMA, ¶ 12).

nature of the problems they can cause
Nature of the problems they can cause

Results in a loss of enthusiasm, energy, idealism, perspective and purpose on a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual level (HCMA, ¶ 2).

Requires professional help and discontinuing being a caregiver until the cynicism and impairment are gone (HCMA, ¶ 3).

physical indications and needs
Physical Indications and Needs

A persistent sense of physical fatigue: feeling "run down"

Frequent headaches, migraines.

Chronic muscle tensions of the head, necks or back.

Gastrointestinal problems (ulcers).

Decreased appetite (or a never-satisfied appetite).

Sleeplessness in spite of feeling fatigued.

High blood pressure.

Shortness of breath.

Nervous tics, tremors, teeth/jaw clenching.

(HCMA, ¶ 6)

emotional indications and needs
Emotional Indications and Needs

Depression ("I don't care anymore!").

A dulling affect, mental fatigue ("I can't think straight anymore!").

Increased irritability, hostility ("I hate this job now!").

Decreased tolerance for frustration ("I can't take it anymore!").

Feelings of helplessness and an inability to see a way out ("I dread going to work!").

Increased risk taking and impulsivity

Inflexibility of behavior and goals ("I can't adjust to this!").

Cynicism about self, others, work and the world ("I can't stand this anymore!").

Apathy ("I don't care anymore!").

Reduction or abandonment of recreational activities ("I'd rather stay home now!").

Decreased capacity for pleasure and social contacts ("I don't want to go out anymore!").

Withdrawal, detachment ("I'd rather be alone!").

Increased interpersonal and/or marital discord.

(HCMA, ¶ 7).

spiritual indications and needs
Spiritual Indications and Needs
  • Disillusionment and disappointment with God.
    • You feel that God is powerless to help.
    • You feel that God does not care.
    • You feel that God has abandoned you, your patient and the family.
  • Discontinuance of religious practices.
    • You stop worshipping-privately and corporately.
    • You stop praying.
    • You stop reading your Bible.
  • Development of spiritual apathy.

(HCMA, ¶ 8).

coping strategies
Coping Strategies

Physical Renewal through:

Emotional Renewal through:

Exercise & Exertion

Nutrition & Diet

Relaxation & Vacation

Without Drug or Alcohol Addiction (HCMA, ¶ 25).

Talking with a Friend



Yourself : Journal Writing.

(HCMA, ¶ 26).

coping strategies11
Coping Strategies

Spiritual Renewal through

Diversional and Organizational Renewal







(HCMA, ¶ 27).



(HCMA, ¶ 28).


Intentions & Plans

(HCMA, ¶ 29).

resources for help and hope
Resources for Help and Hope


Health Chaplains Ministry Association (2005). Balancing the burdens of care giving: Avoiding compassion fatigue. Retrieved March 1, 2010, from

Maslach, C. (1982). Burnout: The cost of caring. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Mosby (Ed.). (2002). Mosby’s medical, nursing, and allied health dictionary (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Douglas M. Anderson.

Oregon Department of Human Services (2007). Caregiver’s self-assessment. Retrieved March 1, 2010, from