Travel Nursing and Compassion Fatigue

As a nurse, you are dedicated, caring and involved with your patients. The very factors that make you an good nurse can lead to burnout as you face pressure to take on increasing workloads while providing excellent patient care.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that healthcare workers are expected to deal with everything from time pressures, to the uncertainty of outcomes of infectious disease to dealing with difficult patients. This long-term stress can lead to physical, emotional and psychological symptoms.

According to the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project unaddressed symptoms of compassion fatigue can impact the workplace in ways including:

  • High absenteeism
  • Inability for teams to work well together
  • Lack of flexibility among staff members
  • Negativity toward management
  • Lack of a vision for the future

How can Travel Nurses deal with Compassion Fatigue?

Travel Nurses have both an advantage and a disadvantage over full-time nurses dealing with job stressors. On the one hand, you can see a “light at the end of the tunnel” because your assignment has and end date. But since you are on the road, you may be separated from your typical stress relievers such as family and friends or familiar surroundings. It’ s important to create a strategy for dealing with stress no matter where you are.

Some Stress Relievers to Try:

  • Bring along a piece of home. A favorite pillow, lotion or blanket may be comfort items you can rely on to remind you of home.
  • Incorporate exercise into your schedule. Sure, you spend all day on your feet, often lifting heavy patients or equipment, but exercise is proven to reduce stress. Opt for what works best for you. Slow, meditative yoga stretches may relax you or try burning off some adrenaline with a good hard run.
  • Investigate your local area for places to relax. If water calms you, try walking near a lake, river or ocean. Enjoy the outdoors in a local park or browse a local bookstore or museum.
  • Treat yourself. Enjoy a nice dinner out rather than eating on the counter at home. Look for entertainment bargains and enjoy a movie, play or sporting event. If you are attending on your own you can often find single seats available even at the last minute.
  • Nurture your spiritual side. If you are religious (or even if you are not), you may take comfort in a local church. Try meditation, read inspirational books or watch uplifting videos.
  • Invite a coworker for coffee. You may find that others are going through the same struggles as you are. Enjoying a few laughs or commiserating with a colleague may help.

If typical stress relievers don’t seem to be making a difference in how you are feeling, contact your relationship manager. They can offer advice or put you in touch with local professionals who can help you with Compassion Fatigue.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a travel nurse? If you’re an RN with at least two years of recent professional experience, we’d like to talk. Take a look at some of our travel nurse opportunities or contact one of MedPro Healthcare Staffing’s recruiters to learn more.

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