Compassion Fatigue

Chapter 42. Self-Care of Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life: “Being Connected…A Key to My Survival”

Michael K. Kearney, MD, Radhule B. Weininger, MD, PhD, Mary L. S. Vachon, RN, PhD, Richard L. Harrison, PhD, Balfour M. Mount, MD

From: Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience by Stephen J. McPhee, Margaret A. Winker, Michael W. Rabow and Steven Z. Pantilat (Oct 4, 2010)

This book chapter is a comprehensive look at burnout and compassion fatigue. It describes the mitigating factors and explains how using mindfulness meditation can enhance self care. There is an extensive bibliography.


MBSR Research on Burnout and Compassion Fatigue in Health Professionals

Shapiro, S.L., Astin, J.A., Bishop, S.R., Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Health Care Professionals: Results from a Randomized Trial, International Journal of Stress Management, 12:2, 164-176. doi: 10.1037/1072-5245.12.2.164

The study examined the effects of MBSR on job burnout and psychological distress in health care professionals currently involved in clinical work. There were significant differences in Perceived Stress reduction (27% versus 7%) and increase Self-Compassion (22% versus 33%) in the MBSR intervention group compared with a control group. In the MBSR group 88% of the participants improved their stress scores while 90% demonstrated increases in self-compassion. In addition, MBSR participants demonstrated trends toward greater positive changes in all dependent variables: greater satisfaction with life (19% versus 0%), decreased job burnout (10% versus 4%) and decreased distress (23% versus 11%). Qualitative responses to open ended questions suggest further benefits of the mindfulness intervention, i.e. What effects did the MBSR program have on your life?” suggests that the intervention had a significant positive impact on their lives. Responses to, “On a scale of 1-10, what impact did the MBSR program have on your life?”, there was a mean rating for the intervention group of 9.2, demonstrating the MBSR course did substantially impact participants lives.


One Comment on “Compassion Fatigue

  1. My name is Alan Roth, and I am a doctoral student at Masters International University of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. I would like to invite you to participate in a research study I am conducting that will seek to identify Compassion Fatigue in Biblical Counselors and ascertain the mitigating effects, if any of spiritual well-being, religious coping and resilience. Particularly, I am searching for qualified experts in the fields of Christian and Biblical Counseling who have a working knowledge of biblical counseling. If you would like to participate in this voluntary survey, please click, and answer prayerfully.


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