Help for Compassion Fatigue


I have been a nurse for over 30 years.  I am the oldest of 4 children born to my parents.  Caregiving has been something I have done since I was a very young girl.  I would help mother with diaper changing, feeding siblings and babysitting.   It was natural that I would choose nursing as a profession.

Over the years I changed specialties many times.  Changing my specialty seemed to revive the excitement and interest that I experienced when I first entered the profession.  I noticed along the way that other nurses also complained of losing interest in their jobs.

Compassion Fatigue

We know that many of us suffer from compassion fatigue resulting from staffing policies and high stress.  Nursing is not an easy job since it can be physically and mentally demanding. Stress is always part of the job for new nurses as well as seasoned nurses. As a nurse, you are always on the job.  When you leave work and go home to the family you find yourself caring for others needs.

It is well known that nurses feel the stress of caring for their patients.  Stress begins to damage both emotional and physical well-being as we do our job day after day.  As a travel nurse changing your location frequently adds to that stress.  The stress of taking that next assignment and getting settled into a new environment adds to what is already a demanding job.

Lately, I read of travel nurses wanting to give it up after a bad experience with an assignment.  What is a nurse to do?

Joy-of-nursingHelp in a book

I recently discovered a book that may help in your effort to rediscover the joy of nursing.  I was impressed by the approach explained in a book called Rediscover the Joy of Being a Nurse by Phyllis S. Quinlan, Ph.D., RN-BC.  Her book offers everyday tips and holistic tools to assist nurses in reconnecting with and sustaining a sense of joy in practicing nursing.  Her book shares the real world scenarios of those with signs of compassion fatigue.  She offers steps that can be taken to rediscover the joy of nursing.

A motivation for the book

Quinlan was motivated to write the book after numerous coaching sessions both privately and at conferences around the country. She encountered a number of seasoned nurses in pain.  These nurses no longer seemed to have the same sense of mission or sense of satisfaction from providing care as they once did. Their empathy was replaced by apathy and nursing became more of an effort for them.

Rediscover the Joy of Being a Nurse provides a message of resilience throughout the pages.  Straightforward advice and solutions offered by Quinlan remind you the reason you wanted to become a professional caregiver in the first place. I love that she touched on different ways to improve your life.  You will find information on topics such as feng shui and meditation that are accessible to everyone.

Speaking from experience

Quinlan speaks from the experience of a staff nurse, educator, and nurse executive.  She has worked in a variety of clinical settings, such as emergency, acute care, skilled nursing, and subacute care departments. As one of us, she speaks with a compassionate voice to convey simple and profound concepts of self-care for the professional caregiver.

The book was like having a conversation with another nurse at the nurse’s station or in the break room between patients. The book is an easy quick read.  On one of your off days find a cozy place to curl up and read this inspiring book.

Compassion fatigue is real and triggered by the stress of working long hours and the responsibilities of the nursing profession.  Before you find yourself wanting to jump ship grab a copy of Rediscover the Joy of Being a Nurse today!



Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a retired RN and US Army Nurse Major. She has over 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and once to South Korea. Her medical training began during the Vietnam era when trained as an army medic. She went on to train as an OR tech and then as a LVN/LPN. She completed nursing school and was direct commissioned into the reserve Army Nurse Corp. nurse. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and working in other medical facilities. During her career she spent years as an OR nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as being a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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