Caring for others is often more about a calling than vocation. Presence, patience and empathy are the ground upon which the caregiver stands, but it can be risky if the caregiver is not also aware of the ongoing need to care for him or herself. Compassion fatigue is a very real, painful reality for many caregivers. Those who care the most tend to be the ones at greatest risk for compassion fatigue.
Healthcare providers are often blind that there are many caregivers suffering from mood disorders, substance abuse, emotional numbing, physical exhaustion, somatic problems, distancing from patients and even isolation from loved ones.
Fortunately, compassion fatigue is treatable. The recording "Compassion Fatigue: The Therapeutic Paradox" by Gundersen Health System Behavioral Health therapist Mark L. Taylor, MA, LPC, uses mindfulness psychology to provide a good first step in addressing compassion fatigue.
Mark is also the contact for the Gundersen Mindfulness Study Group, which meets from noon to 1 p.m. on the first Monday of the every month in the Chaplains Study, directly across the hallway from the hospital Worship Center.
In addition to the recording you may also find the book "Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine" by Saki Santorelli, Ed.D another good starting point.