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Supportive Care

We Grieve Too: One Inpatient Oncology Unit's Interventions for Recognizing and Combating Compassion Fatigue

Katrina L. Fetter
CJON 2012, 16(6), 559-561 DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.559-561

Oncology nurses frequently care for patients who are dying or near death, leading to emotional distress, compassion fatigue, and staff turnover. Providing appropriate social and professional support to nursing staff is imperative to maintaining satisfaction and decreasing turnover. Inpatient and outpatient oncology staff should identify the signs of compassion fatigue and know how to perform self-care to combat it. The experiences of nursing staff and patients with cancer and their families can be improved if nurses feel satisfaction with, and confidence in, performing end-of-life care. The current article discusses the success of helping the staff in the fight against compassion fatigue by implementing bereavement interventions in a community hospital's oncology unit. The program can be applied to many oncology settings and practices to help keep valuable oncology nurses in their careers.

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