Compassion Fatigue and Nursing Burnout

Subject: Health Care
Type: Compare and Contrast Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1218
Topics: Nursing, Career Path, Human Resources, Job, Stress

Problem summery

People that work with trauma victims are likely to suffer a condition of gradual lessening of compassion over a period of time known as compassion fatigue. Nursing is a profession where nurses handle different patients with different conditions with whom some may be in critical conditions. Compassion fatigue is characterized by hopelessness, stress, sleeplessness, no pleasure and bad attitude by sufferers Braunschneider, (2013). The problem with this condition is that individuals can suffer professionally and on a personal basis. This leads to a significant reduction of productivity, low level of motivation and emergence of guilt of incompetency among victims at their workplaces. 

Nursing burnout is another problem that has directly affected nurses in their line of profession and their general relationships with people. Nurses that suffer from this condition exhibit mental and physical or emotional exhaustion. It leads to detachment and disengagement of the victims. It reduces motivation and lead to hopelessness hence making nurses less cautious in the handling of patients. Subsequently, hospitals that record higher rates of burnout receive lower rates of patient satisfaction. It must be understood that the problem of burnout results from long shifts, putting others first before self and pressure at work. The problem is that nurses are in demand worldwide hence are forced to go for long hours at the workplace. The nursing profession comprises people that are selfless.  The sense of caring more for others well-being and over-look their personal interests.  The mordacity to deal with extreme cases such as those of sickness and death can be traumatizing and impact negatively on nurses.

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The chosen Middle range nursing theory and its appropriateness

The most appropriate middle range nursing theory to help nurses manage compassion fatigue and burnout is the mid-range descriptive theory. According to Fawcett, (2005), this theory identifies commonalities in people and situations. It presents an identification mechanisms between concepts while classifying phenomena and what they entail. In this regard, a mechanism can be developed that helps with the identification of compassionate fatigue and burnout among nurses in a hospital facility. The nurses that suffer these conditions can be identified for further recommended actions. Each descriptive theory classifies different phenomena and may entail only a single concept. The theory names different commonalities that exist in discrete observations of various people and events (Peterson and Bredow, 2009). 

Origin of the Middle range theory

The origin of this middle range theory dates back to the 1970’s when nurses identified the need to integrate theories in their professional endeveours. This led to the holding of many nursing conferences to discuss the relevance of the theory in the nursing profession. The development of a consensus to use the theory as a tool in the nursing profession led to its emulation by healthcare providers. There has been many applications of the theory in the nursing profession for decades.

Previous applications of the middle range theory

The middle range theory was widely used in the early part of history which was characterized by little or no formal education. The development of nursing education created the need for nurses to advance their understanding of the increasingly more complicated care situations presented to them by different clients. This led to the formulation of the middle range that is useful in nursing profession. The urge for more knowledge led to better applications of the theory in enhancing satisfaction and safety of both clients and the nurses that serve them.

The middle range descriptive theory is applicable in holistic care which expresses a totality of patient’s care of mind, body or spirit. The theory provides a mechanism to realize the health of a person by providing physical, mental and spiritual care of nurses. The theory is most applicable as it lays a framework for professional counselling among healthcare practitioners. The theory is based on guidance techniques across boundaries of economic, physical, emotional as well as spiritual requirements.

The middle range theory has widely been used in addressing different problems experienced by nurses especially those that are categorized as vulnerable populations. According to Mareno, (2015), the theory is broad hence applicable to address the needs of various practice settings. It is diversified and easily flexible to adapt to the medical setup where it is set. The theory accommodates the diversity that exist in the nursing profession hence applicable and popular among most health care facilities.

Application of the middle-range theory to Compassion Fatigue and Nurse Burnout. Impact of the theory to practice.

The middle range descriptive theory can be useful in resiliency training for suffers of compassionate fatigue and burnout. The theory encourages a dynamic idea that occurs in portray of a quality enabling process. Nurses that suffer from compassionate fatigue and burnout may undergo a criteria of adaptability to risks by utilizing human personal characteristics. This theory presents a concept of analyzing the nurses’ perceptions of family, stress coping mechanisms, enhancing a sense of humor and improving the social support network of the nurses. The different aspects of the conditions handled by this theory such as competence depend on the degree of adversity as it may be subjective to the unique characteristics of the individual nurses.

The theory is very useful in health care practice as it enhances the readiness of nurses to carry out their duties appropriately. Compassion fatigue may lead to poor attitude among nurses hence losing focus and concentration while carrying out duties. The safety of patients is a top priority that makes it very critical to develop resilience of managing compassion fatigue effects at the workplace. This theory enhances the capability of nurses to recognize significant warning signs. It is encouraged that nurses should make a distinct difference between the professional life as well as the personal life. The problem of sleeplessness may result from a situation where nurses keep the thoughts of work even when they retire home after work.

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The middle range theory has a strategy developed placing the role of work environment and conditions as key to managing Compassion Fatigue and Nurse Burnout. This is also alluded by Jennings, (2008), that working conditions may influence development of Compassion Fatigue and Nurse Burnout among many health professionals. Nurses are faced with situations where they handle patients in very bad conditions. In this manner, most nurses may not know how to react when presented by tough situations. These nurses may make mistakes that may keep coming in their minds hence reducing the capability of activity performance.

The theory has had a large impact on the healthy practice among nurses. Many health facilities have made use of the concepts of the middle-range descriptive theory to enhance better satisfaction of nurses in their profession. It serves as a guideline for developing frameworks of administering a stress free workplace in the healthcare service industry. In training and capacity building of nurses to develop resilience to compassion fatigue and burnout, the theory is very critical to outline a strategy of execution. Proper adoption of the theory limits exposure of nurses to these problems and enables them to develop consciousness about mitigation of fatigue and burnout. According to Smith, (2013), the public range theory is very critical in influencing the success and credibility of a health service organization. The theory has greatly contributed to a practice of nursing that is mindful of the safety and wellness of its staff.

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  1. Fawcett, J. (2005). Middle range nursing theories are necessary for the advancement of the discipline. Aquichan5(1), 32-43. Retrieved
  2. Jennings, B. M. (2008). Work stress and burnout among nurses: Role of the work environment and working conditions.
  3. Braunschneider, H. (2013). Preventing and managing compassion fatigue and burnout in nursing. ESSAI11(1), 11.
  4. Peterson, S. J., & Bredow, T. S. (Eds.). (2009). Middle range theories: application to nursing research. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  5. Mareno, N. (2015). Applying Middle-Range Concepts and Theories to the Care of Vulnerable Populations. Caring for the Vulnerable, 117.
  6. Smith, M. J., & Liehr, P. R. (Eds.). (2013). Middle range theory for nursing. Springer Publishing Company.
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