Addressing Compassion Fatigue

Nursing on EmptyNurses who deal with frequent heartache may feel fatigued, stressed or lose their ability to nurture. But there is hope! This sensitive topic is addressed in the article, “Nursing on Empty: Compassion Fatigue Signs, Symptoms, and System Interventions,” a new article from the Journal of Christian Nursing.

“This article helped me admit I have compassion fatigue,” writes Kathy Schoonover Shoffner in her JCN editorial, “Hidden Component of Compassion Fatigue.” Kathy began searching for more resources to address her dryness and overall tiredness, and discovered a resource that deeply influenced her.

Kathy was introduced to the “pace of grace” in the book, An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling, published by InterVarsity Press.

“Quite unexpectedly, the author helped me diagnose a hidden component of compassion fatigue that I wasn’t recognizing—my sense of drive, my belief that being productive is the most valuable thing about me,” Kathy states. “I like telling people I have too much to do, that my life is crazy (fearing that if I say anything less, I’m lazy?).”

Yet Jesus worked hard and rested deeply; he cared passionately for people and was passionately cared for by his Father. We, too, can learn an unhurried, relaxed way of the heart that accepts what God thinks of us and follows Jesus’ lead.

Kathy concludes her editorial, “I think I’m ready to try this resting deeply, down time with God, unhurried approach, and see what happens to my compassion fatigue.”

If you think you may be affected by compassion fatigue, read Kathy’s editorial and take the steps you need to care for yourself—and compassionately care for others.

Become a member of NCF and regularly receive the peer-reviewed Journal of Christian Nursing as one of your member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.

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