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Copyright, D.White 2010 Compassion Fatigue: Healing the Heart-Renewing the Soul by Donna M. White RN, PhD, CS, CADAC Fellow-Board Certified Expert in Traumatic.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright, D.White 2010 Compassion Fatigue: Healing the Heart-Renewing the Soul by Donna M. White RN, PhD, CS, CADAC Fellow-Board Certified Expert in Traumatic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright, D.White 2010 Compassion Fatigue: Healing the Heart-Renewing the Soul by Donna M. White RN, PhD, CS, CADAC Fellow-Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, Boston, MA Public Health Nursing Webinar August 3, 2010

2 Copyright, D.White 2010 New England Alliance for Public Health Workforce Development Boston University School of Public Health Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses (MAPHN) Acknowledgements

3 Copyright, D.White 2010 Overview The purpose of this workshop is to present the profile of a Health Care Professional suffering from Compassion Fatigue. The interactive seminar will identify common stressors that impact performance of professionals working in Health Care. The learner will be given methodologies to identify patterns of Compassion Fatigue and strategies to promote Wellness, Recovery and a renewed sense of identity as a caring professional.

4 Copyright, D.White 2010 Learning Objectives Upon completion of this session you will be able to: Identify three symptoms of Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder (STSD) Describe how Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder (STSD) and the sequelae Compassion Fatigue, is a risk to Health Care Professionals (HCP) List two Occupational Supports for Health Care Professionals experiencing STSD.

5 Copyright, D.White 2010 Lemuel Shattuck Hospital

6 Copyright, D.White 2010 A dedication… St. Francis of Assisi—Patron Saint of Compassion He relinquished a life of wealth & chose a humble life to care for the sick, the disenfranchised, the poor, prisoners, and believed no one should ever die alone at the end of their earthly life.

7 Copyright, D.White 2010 Ever wonder… Why you chose your profession? Ever think about the rewards of it? Why you continue even when exhausted? Do you regret anything? Name it… How often do you think about what you do and the impact it has on who you are? How can you learn to “live softly”?

8 Copyright, D.White 2010 Health Care Professional Prone to Compassion Fatigue Heroic treaters Intensely caring and concerned for others High achievers Strong academics - top ½ of their class Dysfunctional home/early life Highly competent Excellent employee Driven to succeed Finds failure difficult Cerney, 1995

9 Copyright, D.White 2010 Positions available Long hours with required overtime Must be available off-shifts,weekends, and holidays Must be tolerant of aberrant behavior Must be willing to handle daily crises Emotionally draining and physically difficult work Sadness and tragedy seen often High degree of paperwork and responsibility Low salary that will increase after 20+ years

10 Copyright, D.White 2010 Occupational Signs of Stress Biological: Bodily functions Physical symptoms Adverse physiological changes

11 Copyright, D.White 2010 Occupational Signs of Stress Psychological: Decreased tolerance of others Low frustration ability Loss of humor and joy

12 Copyright, D.White 2010 Occupational Signs of Stress Social: Withdrawal Isolation Loneliness Unable to complete tasks Poor utilization of social networks Negative patterns in supervision

13 Copyright, D.White 2010 So what is happening?

14 Copyright, D.White 2010 Burnout…a patient cousin Well intended aspirations evolve into behaviors that can lay the groundwork for burnout and possibly compassion stress and other negative patterns in the workplace Such as…

15 Copyright, D.White 2010 Negative factors Decreased energy—”keeping up the speed” Feelings of inadequacy, possibly failure Reduced recognition for good work High propensity towards feelings of guilt Feelings of helplessness/powerlessness Pressure to succeed-overachieve Vulnerability to criticism

16 Copyright, D.White 2010 Negative factors…cont’d. Inner-directed rage Under-assertiveness Feeling victimized Inflexibility*—in professions that do not reward flexibility Personality influences—perfectionism, rigidity and an enormous capacity for an extreme workload* Red Cape Syndrome— “super-martyr”

17 Copyright, D.White 2010 Negative factors A strong work ethic, self-direction and idealism in the workplace can spiral negatively without supervision* Subsurface anger in HCPs equates to a sense of powerlessness Horizontal violence-misdirected anger and subtle sabotage towards others in their lives Highly critical and fault finding Dropplemann & Thomas, 1996

18 Copyright, D.White 2010 Burnout… “A state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long-term involvement in emotionally demanding situations”. - Pines & Arnson, 1988

19 Copyright, D.White 2010 Stages of Burnout… The Honeymoon -- Thank you so much! The Awakening -- expectations are different The Brownout -- self-confidence wanes Full Scale Burnout -- open criticism The Phoenix Phenomena -- you can get well Maslach, 1985, et al

20 Copyright, D.White 2010 Burnout The essence of the problem is not the recognition of the feelings. It is the clash between expectations and reality. Can emerge gradually…

21 Copyright, D.White 2010 A Conspiracy of Silence The work of Healthcare in this century is physically exhausting and emotionally daunting…caring for the seriously ill, the dying, the wounded and the diseased. Effects on the provider are myriad Viewed as “just doing my job” Professional disciplines minimize their contribution… Finke, 2003

22 Copyright, D.White 2010 Figley’s Model of Compassion Stress and Fatigue Emotional Contagion Empathic Ability Empathic Concern Empathic Response Disengagement Sense of Achievement Compassion Stress

23 Copyright, D.White 2010 Blurring of roles Compassion stress has its roots in burnout. A sense of achievement can be known as a “helper’s high”. The reward of the task completion is greater for the professional than the fulfillment of the need in the person being cared for. Empathic responses can fuel continued spiraling to fulfill the needs of others… leading to exhaustion.

24 Copyright, D.White 2010 Cognitive Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress Diminished concentration Confusion Spaciness Loss of meaning Decreased self-esteem Preoccupation with trauma Trauma imagery Apathy Rigidity Disorientation Whirling thoughts Thoughts of self-harm or harm towards others Self-doubt Perfectionism Minimization

25 Copyright, D.White 2010 Emotional Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress Powerlessness Anxiety Guilt Anger-rage Survivor guilt Shutdown Numbness Fear Helplessness Sadness Depression Hypersensitivity Emotional roller coaster Overwhelmed Depleted

26 Copyright, D.White 2010 Spiritual Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress Questioning the meaning of life Lack of self- satisfaction Pervasive hopelessness Loss of purpose Ennui Anger at God Questioning of prior religious beliefs

27 Copyright, D.White 2010 Interpersonal Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress Withdrawn Decreased interest in intimacy or sex Mistrust Impact on parenting (protectiveness, concern about aggression) Projection of anger or blame Intolerance Loneliness Isolation from friends

28 Copyright, D.White 2010 Physical Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress Shock Sweating Rapid heartbeat Breathing difficulties Aches and pains Dizziness Impaired immune system Somatic reactions

29 Copyright, D.White 2010 Behavioral Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress Clingy Impatient Irritable Withdrawn Moody Regression Sleep disturbances Appetite changes Nightmares Hypervigilance Elevated startle response Use of negative coping (smoking, alcohol or other substance misuse) Accident proneness Losing things Self-harm behaviors

30 Copyright, D.White 2010 Crimean War… “Their moans would pierce the heart” - Irish Nurse 1864

31 Copyright, D.White 2010 PTSD Experiences What Constitutes a Sufficiently Traumatic Experience: The person has experiences an event outside the range of usual human experience that would be markedly distressing to almost anyone: a serious threat to his or her life or physical integrity; serious threat or harm to their children, spouse or other close relatives, or friends; sudden destruction of his home or community: or seeing another person seriously injured or killed in an accident or by physical violence. (APA, 1994)

32 Copyright, D.White 2010 Secondary Traumatic Stress STS is the natural consequent behaviors and emotions resulting from knowing about a traumatizing event experienced by another human being. It is the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person. (Figley, 1993a)

33 Copyright, D.White 2010 Vicarious Traumatization… Vicarious traumatization refers to a transformation in the person’s inner experience resulting from empathic engagement with trauma material. Graphic accounts of abuse & pain Effects are cumulative & permanent McCann & Pearlman, 1998

34 Copyright, D.White 2010 Vicarious Traumatization… Effects may be intrusive and painful Emotional residue may remain after direct exposure Contamination of personal life Disruption of schema or beliefs about the self and the world. Also called Transformational World View

35 Copyright, D.White 2010 Posttraumatic Embitterment Disorder A distinct state of mood Differs from depression, hopelessness, and anger… but can share common emotional features or exist in parallel with them In contrast to anger…has additional quality of self-blame and a feeling of injustice A feeling of being let down and is nagging and self-increasing Person may feel vengeful but helpless. Linden, Rotter, et al (2007)

36 Copyright, D.White 2010 I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become. Carl Jung

37 Copyright, D.White 2010 Figley’s Model of Compassion Stress and Fatigue Prolonged Exposure Secondary Traumatic Stress Traumatic Recollections Compassion Fatigue Degree of Life Disruption

38 Copyright, D.White 2010 Emotional and Spiritual Effects Through exposure to graphic accounts of abuse experiences, and the realities of people’s intentional cruelty to one another, a caring person is vulnerable to the emotional and spiritual effects of vicarious traumatization.

39 Copyright, D.White 2010 PTSD and STSD PTSD Stressor Outside of usual human experiences Serious threat to self Sudden destruction of one’s environment Re-experience of Trauma event Avoidance/numbing of reminders Persistent arousal

40 Copyright, D.White 2010 PTSD and STSD STSD Stressor Outside of usual human experiences Serious threat to Traumatized Person Sudden destruction of TP’s environment Re-experiencing Trauma Event of TP Avoidance/numbing of reminders Persistent arousal

41 Copyright, D.White 2010 Compassion Fatigue Defined Identical to Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder (STSD) Is the equivalent of PTSD Potential for chemical use Figley, 1995

42 Copyright, D.White 2010 Clinical Practice Issues Loss of therapeutic realism Negative or non-existent supervision Personal health changes Self-neglect Transference/Countertransference Compassion Stress and Compassion Fatigue

43 Copyright, D.White 2010 Clinical Practice Issues, continued Diminished interaction with colleagues and team discipline Black/White-all or nothing thinking Emotionalism Judgmental behavior Use of chemicals for stress reduction (use, abuse, dependence) Impaired Practice

44 Copyright, D.White 2010 Culture of the Workplace Key marker for identifying issues for employee performance and health maintenance Professional: established roles, clear policies and protocols, supervision sessions, reasonable expectations Negative and Punitive…. “the bureaucratic response” Harried and rushed…...“a ticking clock” Fragmented and productivity driven… “just get it done” Team oriented vs. discipline specific…“that’s not my job” Poor reflection of specific cultures Chronic role strain

45 Copyright, D.White 2010 “ You have brains in your head…You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose!” -Dr. Seuss

46 Copyright, D.White 2010 Key points for clinical practice Supervision* Boundary adherence Self-awareness Processing of events and emotions Horizontal violence De-obligate yourself

47 Copyright, D.White 2010 More stuff to know… The way you feel or behave is never caused by others or the way they treat you. The way you behave is influenced by how you feel. The way you feel is created and controlled and maintained by interpretations in your mind. Anything that was learned can be unlearned.* You can change the way you think! Getting reasonably upset instead of overly upset can give you choice and control. Managing Emotions Under Pressure, 2006

48 Copyright, D.White 2010 Methodologies for Biopsychosocial Role Strain Personal Philosophy Support Groups Workplace Support (lunch time meetings, gyms, spiritual areas, supervision luncheons, away days) Exercise programs Educational pursuits RTW (Return-to-Work) Contracts (when applicable, established boundaries and parameters)

49 Copyright, D.White 2010 Healthy Strategies for Survival Assertiveness Training - Learning how to present personal views without aggression Health Promotion - Learning & self - health care Adaptation - Goal surrender Learning to “Roll with the Punches” Cooperation - Affiliation “Social Glue” bonding Develop emotional resilience

50 Copyright, D.White 2010 Healthy Strategies for Survival, continued Recognition of competing—originates in primal drives…food, power, sex Supervision - New techniques/new perspective Continuous critical thinking Methodologies for role strain

51 Copyright, D.White 2010 More Healthy Strategies Therapy—individual or group Employee Assistance Program (EAP) consultation Quiet/sacred areas “Take 5 Room” Study groups Yoga/exercise/good nutrition* Stress forums Stress reduction programs Compassionate writing

52 Copyright, D.White 2010 Healthy Strategies… Mental diversions—songs, movies, stories Schedule vacations routinely Alternative Therapies Dining…not gulping food* Pursue and interest—hobbies Encourage recreation Private time on a daily basis Contact with family & friends

53 Copyright, D.White 2010 Ten Worry Stopping Techniques Set aside a special time for worrying. Concentrate only on worrying during selected times. Ask yourself: “What is the absolute worst thing that may happen?” Ask yourself: “Will that absolute worst thing really happen?” How many times? Use “self-talk” and thought-stopping to short circuit “worries.” STOP! Learn and use Scientific Conflict Resolution Techniques for family and personal decisions. Resolve internal conflict; reduce worrying.

54 Copyright, D.White 2010 Ten Worry Stopping Techniques, continued Instead of imagining and re-imagining the negative, picture what you ideally want to have happen. Imagine it and then develop an action plan to begin to move toward that ideal. Learn to disagree agreeably. To protect …use I- messages and active listening techniques, “I believe….discussion” Take a risk & ask questions…you can’t know everything! Read. Books and articles are available to teach yourself. Talk to those you trust… for their guidance Accept reality…know the limits of your control… The crisis will pass…with or without you being stressed

55 Copyright, D.White 2010 Stress Hardiness The concept of “stress hardiness” or resistance to stress was developed by Dr. Suzanne Kobasa at City University in New York. Dr. Kobasa has studied many groups of people who have very stressful occupations. Those who seem to cope with their job stress, having a hardiness to it, have three specific characteristics. How do these apply to you?

56 Copyright, D.White Characteristics of Stress Hardiness Commitment Control Challenge Kobasa, 1979, 1985

57 Copyright, D.White 2010 Fourth “C” The fourth “C” stands for “closeness.” Everyone who wants to be stress hardy must have someone (one person or one hundred) with whom to share the stress, a confidante who is willing to “be there” when times are tough. -Betty Morgan RN, PhD, CS

58 Copyright, D.White 2010 Positive Effects?… “…a heightened sensitivity & enhanced empathy for the suffering of victims, resulting in a deeper sense of connection with others…a deep sense of hopefulness about the capacity of human beings to endure, overcome and even transform their traumatic experience: and a more realistic view of the world, through the integration of the dark sides of humanity with healing images”. McCann & Pearlman, 1990

59 Copyright, D.White 2010 Small Stuff Choose your attitude every day Listen with your ears…and eyes Strive for integrity…not fame Listen to your own advice Think of the “Plane analogy” Cherish tranquility Rest without guilt Learn to relax when you are “too busy”

60 Copyright, D.White 2010 and finally….. “I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself. …and if you like the company you keep in the empty moments” - Oriah Mountain Dreamer Indian Elder

61 Copyright, D.White 2010 References Cavaiola, A. & Colford, J. (2006) A Practical Guide to Crisis Intervention, Boston: Lahaska Press. Echterling, L.G., Presbury, H.H., & McGee, J.E. (2005). Crisis intervention: Promoting resilience and resolution in troubled times. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Ferrell B., and Coyle, Nessa. (2007). The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Nursing. Oxford University Press.

62 Copyright, D.White 2010 References Figley, C.R. Compassion Fatigue. New York, Brunner/Mazel, Garfield, Charles. (1996). Sometimes My Heart Goes Numb. Halpern, J. From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanising Medical Practice. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001.

63 Copyright, D.White 2010 References James,R.K. (2008). Crisis intervention strategies (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Reynolds, W.J. The Measurement and Development of Empathy. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2000.

64 Copyright, D.White 2010 Thank you to all… To all of you here today for your interest and commitment to your colleagues To all those present for their willingness to promote this topic…discussion promotes wellness in ourselves and ultimately, those we serve. Especially to the organizers of today for their hard work & tireless efforts to make today happen for all of us.

65 Copyright, D.White 2010 QUESTIONS and ANSWERS Donna M. White, PhD, RN, CS, CADAC Contact via Nursing Continuing Education credits are available for 30 days following the live presentation. In order to receive your evaluation form and nursing contact hour certificate please your: name, state, address to: Patti White, MAPHN at


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