Professional Caregivers also need to care for themselves. This is to avoid the occurrence of compassion fatigue, a condition that is characterized by chronic stress resulting from excessive blaming to bottled-up emotions. Professional caregivers have the responsibility to deal with this condition, which should be done by developing a mechanism for identifying the symptoms. Such self-awareness helps the caregivers to develop a sense of self-awareness, which helps professional caregivers to stem the condition before it grows out of control (CFAP, 2010).
Creating self-awareness of compassion fatigue begins by having an understanding of the basic symptoms of compassion fatigue. Understanding these symptoms is beneficial as it facilitates professional caregivers to assess themselves and establish if they are at risk of developing this condition.
A professional caregiver can be assisted to know whether they are at the risk of developing compassion fatigue. This is through a self-assessment tool. The self-assessment is made of several questions that should be filled in by professional caregivers to check their risk of developing compassion fatigue. If the answer to more than half of these questions is ‘yes’ then the professional caregiver is at risk of developing the condition (Pfifferling and Gilley, 2000).
Compassion fatigue can be dealt with on a personal level by developing a personal self-care plan. The plan helps caregivers at the risk of developing this condition to change their lifestyles accordingly (Figley, 1995).
A personal development plan helps the victim to come back to a healthy life, nationally, socially, professionally and emotionally. The plan helps the victim to achieve a balanced life.
Engaging in social activities helps to steam off the excess stress that is created by built-up emotions resulting from caring too much. Isolating personal values from professional values is beneficial in dealing with compassion fatigue in two ways: In establishing priorities as well as decisions making. This also helps the caregivers to develop a clear vision and develop limits within which to work yet retain a healthy lifestyle. This will be attained through learning how to effectively say no to deviant behavior, such as overspending, drug abuse, and requests from professionals that propel the development of this condition (Vaccaro, 1998)
CFAP, (2010). What is compassion fatigue? Web.
Figley, C. (1995). Compassion fatigue: Coping with secondary traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York: Brunner/Mazel
Pfifferling, J. , & Gilley, J. (2000). Overcoming Compassion Fatigue: When practicing medicine feels more like labor than a labor of love, take steps to heal the healer. Family Practice Management 7(4):39-44. Web.
Vaccaro, P. (1998). Balancing act: Five ways to say ‘no’ effectively. Family Practice Management 5(7):71-72. Web.