Compassion fatigue

Compassion, Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction
Compassion: the human quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it, is a requisite competency in caring professions, including people working with laboratory animals.

Compassion fatigue: the term was first used to describe the experiences of nurses showing a gradual lessening of compassion over time. This condition may be caused by the stress of caring for traumatized or suffering people and animals. Caring too much without practicing self-care will hurt you.

Compassion satisfaction: refers to the positivity involved in caring, the ability to receive gratification from caregiving.

Recognizing Compassion Fatigue
To recognize compassion fatigue, it is good to know that it may manifest itself in many ways. Symptoms may be emotional, intellectual, physical, social, and/or work-related and will affect your wellbeing and work performance, in other words, ‘the cost of caring’.

Common symptoms include anxiety, apathy, difficulty concentrating, feeling emotionally and physically tired, feelings of guilt, grief, irritability, isolation from others, many sick days, sadness and sleeplessness. However, compassion fatigue professionals, clinicians and other specialists are familiar with dozens of other symptoms.

The earlier you recognize these or other symptoms that concern you, the better it is. People working with laboratory animals should not only keep a watchful eye on themselves but also on their colleagues. Also, managers should be alert to signals like an increased rate of employee absenteeism, friction between co-workers, inability to complete assignments or to respect and meet deadlines, or negativity towards management.

From Compassion Fatigue to Compassion Satisfaction
Copeplus can help you, your colleagues and management with setting up a sustainable compassion fatigue support program. Our program, tailor-made for each laboratory animal facility, covers the full spectrum of issues related to compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction.