Whether you're a nurse, physician, social worker, or other type of healthcare professional, working with patients provides great meaning and satisfaction to your career. However, if you provide care to ill and injured children and their families, the stresses from difficult diagnoses may wear on you, perhaps making you feel drained, upset or frustrated. Many healthcare workers experience burnout or compassion fatigue at some point in their career.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout is key:

Physical Reactions: Fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, upset stomach, chronic muscle tension, sexual dysfunction

Emotional Reactions: Feeling overwhelmed/ emotionally spent, helpless and/or inadequate, sense of vulnerability, crying more easily or frequently, suicidal or violent thoughts or urges

Behavioral Reactions: isolation, withdrawal, increased mood swings, irritability, restlessness, changes in alcohol or drug consumption, changes in relationships with others, personally & professionally

Cognitive Reactions: disbelief, sense of numbing, replaying events in one’s mind over & over, decreased concentration, confusion or impaired memory, difficulty making decisions or problem-solving, distressing dreams or fantasies

After recognizing the signs and symptoms of burnout or compassion fatigue, you can take steps to reduce workplace stress, such as exercising, eating healthy, meditating, and/or talking to mental health professional.

How do you manage workout place stress, burnout, or compassion fatigue?