Every person who cares about their patient/service user/client will develop a certain amount of compassion fatigue at some point in their career. When you are empathically engaging with those you support then you will be impacted by compassion fatigue. It’s not something you can necessarily get rid of.
You can learn to identify the signs and put strategies in place to prevent tipping the scales into something you find challenging to manage. Compassion fatigue is an occupational hazard and has been described as “the cost of caring” for others in emotional pain.
Some signs that you might be experiencing compassion fatigue are:
- If you have an eroding of your empathy, compassion, and hope for others and yourself.
- Personal life: feeling more irritated with your loved ones, feeling distant from them.
- Professional life: increasingly intolerant of your colleagues, becoming cynical, contributing to toxic work environments, violating boundaries.
- Subtle signs: behaving in the right way but thinking, “I’ve seen or heard much worse” or “they’re exaggerating their pain.”