Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Recruitment and Retention Toolkit   Dealing with Stress in the Workplace 2.10.0   Introduction: Compassion Fatigue and Burnout []

Introduction: Compassion Fatigue and Burnout []

Quick Take on Burnout [1] and Compassion Fatigue

  1. Burnout is a gap between expectations and rewards, a disparity of effort versus recovery.
  2. Idealistic people may burn out more often then realistic people.
  3. Strong predictors of burnout include an intrusion of work life into home life and feelings of being ineffective.
  4. The interruptions of technology cause stress and burnout and decrease control and work/life balance, i.e., cell phones, email, and BlackBerries.
  5. The degree of mismatch between the person’s skills and key aspects of the job increases the risk of stress and burnout.
  6. Compassion fatigue is a state of exhaustion and dysfunction (biologically, psychologically and socially) as a result of prolonged exposure to secondary trauma or a single intensive event. (C.R. Figley, 1995)
  7. The coping mechanism that is most commonly used is to disregard the overwhelming emotions that surface repeatedly in care giving work.
This Quick Tool provides insight into compassion fatigue – what it is, how to spot it and treat it. It explains the difference between stress and burnout, the phases and how it is measures. This section also has extensive wellness information useful for the behavioral health workforce. 
Compassion Fatigue [2.10.3.b] (also known as a secondary traumatic stress disorder or vicarious traumatization), is a term that refers to a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is common among victims of trauma and individuals that work directly with victims of trauma. Various resources are available to help identify and treat compassion fatigue.
Burnout [2.10.3.a] is a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest. This section provides the stages of burnout, how it is measured and resources to assist in reducing or eliminating burnout.
Wellness [2.10.3.c] the subject of self care is explored with self-care assessments, articles and reports.
American Psychological Association (APA) outlines the different types of stress - acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress — each with its own characteristics, symptoms, duration and treatment approaches.
[1] Senior, Jennifer (2006, December 4). New York News and Features. Retrieved February 25, 2007, from Feature: Can't Get no Satisfaction Web site:

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