Advice for combating burnout & compassion fatigue?

  1. I have obtained a position away from the bedside to assist me with my slow healing process to hopefully one day recover from burnout, ptsd, and compassion fatigue as a result of my negative clinical experiences as a nurse. I honestly never knew that when I started my nursing career that I'd be transformed into a different person. Anyways, I'm still battling with some symptoms of burnout and compassion fatigue. Unfortunately, I am self supported with a single income and thus I cannot afford to take a break from working for my overall health although I desperately need it. All of my colleagues are married and dual income, no one understands the financial constraints I'm under. Does anyone have practical, cost effective strategies for how to manage and help heal from burnout and compassion fatigue?

    I thought I was getting better, but then today as I glanced at clinical job postings all I could think of was "god, I don't want to take care of any of you miserable, ungrateful brats"... I immediately felt exhausted, anxious and nauseous at the thought of returning to bedside care.
    Last edit by CaffeinePOQ4HPRN on Feb 13
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    About CaffeinePOQ4HPRN, BSN, LPN, RN

    Joined: Mar '14; Posts: 345; Likes: 859


  3. by   OldDude
    Are you saying your current position away from the bedside is not sustainable for financial reasons or because you don't perceive you are getting better emotionally?
  4. by   Davey Do
    Quote from CaffeinePOQ4HPRN
    Does anyone have practical, cost effective strategies for how to manage and help heal from burnout and compassion fatigue?
    My heart goes out to you, CaffeinePOQ4HPRN. I had similar symptoms back in '98 after a stabbing by a client diagnosed with schizophrenia. I also had, around the same time, been a first responder at a fatal MVA, had been diagnosed with a cancerous colon polyp, and had a $50,000 civil suit against me.

    I returned to work about a week after the stabbing, attended the morning meeting, went to my desk and broke down crying. The facility paid for 3 visits with a therapist which helped a little. Perhaps your place of employment has an EAP with therapy services?

    What really helped me, and was cost-efficient was a program of working with an art therapist and a healthy lifestyle.

    The therapist and I worked out a deal where I had to pay only $30 a session for which I attended every two weeks for six months. I was given exercises in expressing my thoughts and feelings through art and then went over these exercises in the sessions.

    I exercised at a gym regularly. My workout sessions were from 40 minutes to 3 hours. The more emotional I was, the longer the workouts. While doing aerobic exercise, I made the physical discomfort match my emotional pain.

    I worked a 12 step program through EA, Emotions Anonymous. The meetings, of course, are free and the program offers great guidelines on how to realistically deal with your emotions.

    If there's anything I can do to assist you CaffeinePOQ4HPRN, do not hesitate to contact me.

    The very,very best to you.
  5. by   CaffeinePOQ4HPRN
    @OldDudeRN I'm running on empty, basically. The effects of burnout are lingering and manifesting into physical symptoms now (ex. Overall pain, fatigue, panic attacks/anxiety, migraines). Ideally, I would like to take some time off or engage in self care that has helped in the past (ex. Therapeutic massage, chiropractic care) but I can't afford it and I don't have health benefits. Any other suggestions. I've been buying lottery tickets to no avail, ha!
  6. by   sallyrnrrt
    DaveyDo gave you some very good advice
    Which I know works

    Art therapy is wonderful

    I can not over compliment the advantages of 12 step work as EA, emotions anonymous......

    Also physical activity as workout or walking, anything contributes to the increased release of endorphins, the good feeling, neuro trasmitters

    My best. Regards for you....
    Are there opportunities in ambulatory care or clinics?
  7. by   sallyrnrrt
    We have some 7+ decades experience, please consider exploring some of our suggestions
  8. by   OldDude
    Sound advice by Davey and foot in front of the other, one step at a time. You can!