Health care professionals have emotionally demanding careers and high rates of emotional exhaustion, compassion fatigue, and burnout (19). They experience exposure to human suffering and death, and interact with challenging patients, families, and co-workers on a regular basis. Simultaneously, they must perform their job tasks efficiently, accurately, and ethically (3, 5,8,14,17).
Stress in health care professionals is a serious concern because it can adversely affect their mental health, quality of life, and job performance (4, 7, 16). Stress is also correlated with reduced ability to establish strong relations with patients which is a critical component to positive therapeutic outcomes (6, 15, 18, 20).
Health care professionals with elevated burnout and compassion fatigue ratings are associated with having poorer quality of life and patient care and are inversely correlated with having less self-compassion (19). Research indicates self-compassion provides clinicians with immediate self-care to alleviate personal empathetic distress and to proceed with empathic care (13). Preliminary research suggests a positive relationship between higher self-compassion and overall wellbeing in health care professionals and lower risk of burnout (1).
Illinois DocAssist has collected resources to help you regain your balance, feel better, and improve your patient care especially during the holiday session.
- Dr. Christine Neff, a leading authority in self-compassion, has a self-compassion assessment, exercises, and training for health care communities.
- Emory University’s Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion Based Ethics has free videos to help increase your self-compassion.
- Stanford’s Center For Compassion and Altruism Research And Education offers 14 continuing education credits on compassion training for non-M.D.’s, though training is available for all healthcare professionals.
- Finally, the AMA has several articles on using self-compassion strategies to enhance your work-life balance.