Compassion Fatigue and Ethics Term Paper by Meg

Compassion Fatigue and Ethics
A discussion on the causes, impacts and symptoms of compassion fatigue and burnout.
# 153608 | 2,063 words | 8 sources | APA | 2012 | KE
Published on Jul 12, 2013 in Medical and Health (Nursing) , Ethics (General)

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The paper looks at the condition of compassion fatigue and explains that nurses' continual exposure and involvement in patients' illnesses, challenges and struggles can result in nursing compassion fatigue and burnout. The paper details the causes, impacts and symptoms of this relatively newly-discovered condition, as well as the moral and ethical issues surrounding it. The paper notes the need for further research on how it affects work situations, and on the ways it can be minimized and reduced.

Compassion Fatigue
Morality & Ethics

From the Paper:

"Compassion fatigue has been given different names and different definitions over time. Its appearance was first linked to the clinically defined Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in 1980. It was then seen as a sort of secondary post traumatic stress syndrome, other terms that have been applied to it include Secondary Victimization, Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Trauma. Compassion fatigue occurs when the caregiver is so involved in the situation or distress of their patients that they experience a similar state of distress themselves, often equal to the state of trauma experienced by the patient, and in some cases experience a level of trauma exceeding that of their patients' owing to an added sense of responsibility.
"Compassion fatigue can also be defined by what it is not; it is similar to, but not the same as, counter transference where one sees oneself in thesituation of the patient. Unlike counter transference, which is usually temporary and limited to certain kinds of patient-client relationship, compassion fatigue is felt far beyond any type of relationship. Compassion fatigue is different from burn out,burn out is more of a mental and psychological exhaustion usually caused by a particular line of work that may have lost its meaning or whose goals become unclear over a long time."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Adkinson, L. F. (2005). Compassion Fatigue In Middle Aged Public Health Nurses Working On Disaster Relief Teams (Master's thesis). Retrieved May 22, 2013, from
  • Cole, J. B. (2011, July). In Compassion Fatigue. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from
  • Figley, C. R. (2002). Compassion Fatigue: Psychotherapists' Chronic Lack of Self Care. JCLP/In Session: Psychotherapy in Practice, 58(11), 1433-1441. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
  • Forster, D. (2009, April). Rethinking Compassion Fatigue as Moral Stress. Journal of Ethics in Mental Health, 4(1), 1-4. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from
  • Gallagher, A. (2011). Moral Distress and Moral Courage in Everyday Nursing Practice. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 16(2), 191-197. Retrieved May 22, 2013, from

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Compassion Fatigue and Ethics (2013, July 12) Retrieved July 31, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Compassion Fatigue and Ethics" 12 July 2013. Web. 31 July. 2021. <>