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Compassion fatigue checklist

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As a nurse, you witness the fear, pain and suffering of others every day. But when you get too immersed in the lives and trials of your patients, you can become a victim of “compassion fatigue.”

Use the checklist below to assess if you are suffering from this condition, then read the five strategies to help you or a coworker cope with compassion fatigue.

You can also download these two important resources:

Fletcher Compassion Fatigue Scoring Sheet (PDF)

Fletcher Compassion Fatigue Assessment (PDF)

  • I feel estranged from my colleagues, my friends, my family, my patients.
  • I have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • I have outbursts of anger or irritability with little provocation.
  • I startle easily.
  • While working with a patient who was a victim, I’ve thought about violence against the perpetrator.
  • I am a sensitive person.
  • I have had flashbacks connected to my patients.
  • I have had firsthand experience with traumatic events in my adult life.
  • I have had firsthand experience with traumatic events in my childhood.
  • I have thought that I need to “work through” a traumatic experience in my life.
  • I have thought that I need more close friends.
  • I have thought that there is no one to talk with about highly stressful experiences.
  • I have concluded that I work too hard for my own good.
  • I am frightened of things a patient has said or done to me.
  • I experience troubling dreams similar to those of a patient of mine.
  • I have experienced intrusive thoughts of interactions with especially difficult patients.
  • I have suddenly and involuntarily recalled a frightening experience while working with a patient.
  • I force myself to avoid certain thoughts or feelings that remind me of a frightening experience at work.
  • I find myself avoiding certain activities or situations because they remind me of a frightening experience at work.
  • I have gaps in my memory about frightening events at work.
  • I am preoccupied with more than one patient.
  • I am losing sleep over a patient’s traumatic experiences.
  • I have thoughts that I might have been “infected” by the traumatic stress of my patients.
  • I remind myself to be less concerned about the well-being of my patients.
  • I have felt trapped by my work as a nurse.
  • I have felt a sense of hopelessness associated with working with nurses.
  • I have felt “on edge” about various things and I attribute this to working with certain patients.
  • I have wished that I could avoid working with some patients.
  • I have been in danger working with patients.
  • I have felt that my patients dislike me personally.
  • I have felt weak, tired and run-down as a result of my work as a nurse.
  • I have felt depressed as a result of my work as a nurse.
  • I am unsuccessful at separating my work from my personal life.
  • I feel little compassion toward most of my coworkers.
  • I feel I am working more for the money than for personal fulfillment.
  • I find it difficult separating my personal life from my work life.
  • I have a sense of worthlessness/disillusionment/resentment associated with my work.
  • I have thoughts that I am a “failure” as a nurse.
  • I have thoughts that I am not succeeding at achieving my life goals.
  • I have to deal with “too many” bureaucratic, unimportant tasks in my work life.

Editor’s Note: If you are experiencing many of these thoughts, please consider being worked up for depression or anxiety or severe job unhappiness.

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Susan Fletcher, PhD

Susan Fletcher, PhD, is a psychologist, an author and a speaker who specializes in helping individuals, professionals and organizations apply strategies for fast improvement. Her Smart Zone™ strategies provide ways to be a top performer at work and at home. To learn more about how to be in the Smart Zone, please visit Susan’s Website at fletcherphd.com, or contact her at (972) 612-1188 or by email at drfletcher@fletcherphd.com.
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