Laura Broadwater

Several years ago I attended a compassion fatigue conference in Ohio.  I compared this material to some of that material.  Rick you listed a plethora of symptoms.  When Jesus said, “Tend my sheep,” (John) he included all of us, too.  I personally live in a fragile balance of life.  If one part becomes out of balance, I have to employ a number of tools for help: walking, writing, verbal processing, working in the yard, change of scenery, stress balls or clay.  I also call in my troops for support.

I engage several patients with anxiety disorder.  Sometimes I explore that to see if it the anxiety is organic or recent behavior, or a reaction to an immediate situation.   People know the difference.  I love seeing people do needle work, crafts, coloring, crossword puzzles, seek and find in the hospital.  Some love to read books.  Those activities allow me to explore coping skills for their hospital stay.  Those skills are healthy.  However there are those organic folks who cannot self calm and must rely on meds.  I check in with patients over a period of time to see if they can name one thing for which to give thanks.  I find that is a silent way to help elevate the mood.

I engage a lot of staff who are truly overstretched.  There is a shortage of staff as our hospital transitions under new leadership. But the stretch is 5 months old and staff are weary.  They work 16 hour days with too many patients, no self care and home responsibilities.  There is some financial renumeration for picking up.  Stretching staff is a way to create an environment for error.  It challenges me to find ways to support staff.  I hear the, “I quit.”  I get so frustrated that administration cannot see how much more cost effective it is to add staff, create a healthier work environment and happier employees.  I feel like my advocacy for staff and safety falls on deaf ears.  The fight is gone and the plans for taking flight are in place.  It makes my heart sad to see good people with great skill and care, in burn out.