Compassion Fatigue and Mental Health Nursing: The final Taboo?

Camenzuli-Chetcuti, Matshidiso and Haslam, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9076-1481 (2021) Compassion Fatigue and Mental Health Nursing: The final Taboo? British Journal of Mental Health Nursing . ISSN 2049-5919

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For Mental Health nurses, a core component of the Nurse-Patient relationship is compassion. Bearing witness however to patient suffering may lead to the manifestation of Compassion Fatigue; a decrease in compassionate and empathic responses due to prolonged contact with patient suffering and distress. Mental Health Nurses, particularly those who work in those areas where they are exposed to frequent crisis presentations, such as inpatients settings and crisis teams, are at risk of developing Compassion Fatigue and yet there remains a paucity of research into the impact upon those delivering mental health care in the UK. This paper highlights the importance of identifying Compassion Fatigue, advocates for open honest and supportive discussions without fear of reprimand, and argues that possible work-place causes should be effectively addressed by Nurse Leaders and organisations, not just for sake of the Mental Health Nurse and their employers but also to ensure positive patient outcomes.

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