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Compassion Fatigue When Caring for Dying Patients

by Jennifer Forik, MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC When I am asked what I do for a living, I enthusiastically and proudly say, “I’m a palliative care nurse practitioner!” Unfortunately, I usually do not receive the same upbeat response. I usually am told, “Oh wow, that’s a tough job” or, “Oh, so you care for people at the end of life?” Yes! Isn’t that amazing?   Palliative care is a type of medical care that helps with symptom management from chronic illnesses, and guides discussions around goals of care with patients. This type of decision-making allows the patients to decide on how they would like to proceed with their medical treatment. Sometimes patients decide that hospice care is the best option for them (Hospice care focuses on the comfort of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, while to their emotional and spiritual needs).  So, how hard is…

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Nursing & Mental Health

Happy Nurse’s Week to all of my fellow nurses out there!  I am very proud to be a nurse. It’s an amazing profession. Nursing is more than a job, though; it is a calling. It’s not just something you do, it is something you are; so it can be hard to maintain a level of separation when work is such an integral part of who you are. So how can nurses step back and make sure that they are caring for themselves in addition to the wonderful care they provide to their patients? First, let’s take a look at some facts.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) found that hospital nurses are twice as likely as the general public to suffer from clinical depression.  That is, 9% of “everyday” citizens experience clinical depression while a whopping 18% of nurses are affected. At first I found…

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