Managing Compassion Fatigue with Non-Patient Facing Health Care Workers


What is Compassion Fatigue?

Compassion fatigue in a healthcare setting is feelings of chronic stress at work and outside of work because of constantly being in a workplace setting where the healthcare provider feels compassion for their patients. Another name for compassion fatigue is empathy burnout, and it is a problem faced by both patient facing workers as well as non-patient facing healthcare workers, especially amid a pandemic. Compassion fatigue has two primary elements: secondary traumatic stress and burnout. Secondary traumatic stress can be caused by the empathy a healthcare worker can experience from seeing their patients go through traumatic events, or from hearing about a patient’s trauma. Symptoms of compassion fatigue can include sleeping problems, exhaustion, dissatisfaction at work, reduced ability to be empathetic, trouble making decisions, and more. 

What can you do to manage it?

As a professional, it is important to make sure that your employees are not getting to the point of reaching compassion fatigue. In order to achieve this and be there for your employees, by making sure that they have enough time to recover in between shifts when scheduling them, checking in with your employees to make sure they are doing okay, and encouraging them to take care of themselves are all important aspects of fostering an environment that will lead to less instances of burnout and compassion fatigue.