News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Compassion fatigue amongst doctors

27 April 2005

Study investigates prevalence of compassion fatigue amongst doctors

A study is about to be launched by researchers at The University of Auckland’s School of Population Health to determine the prevalence of ‘compassion fatigue’ in young doctors in New Zealand.

Up to 1200 young doctors working in district health boards in the upper North Island will be invited to take part in the study being carried out by Peter Huggard, a senior lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care at the School of Population Health.

Doctors and other health care professionals may experience compassion fatigue as a result of continued exposure to the traumatic events their patients experience. Also called secondary traumatic stress or vicarious traumatisation, the result can be a falling off in professional capabilities, emotional exhaustion, distress and burnout.

This may be a particular problem for health professionals caring for patients with terminal conditions such as cancer. However, it can be experienced by anyone working in the “helping professions” including non-professional caregivers.

Mr Huggard says the study of the emotional effects on those caring for traumatised people is a relatively new area of research. He wants to learn of doctors’ experiences with compassion fatigue, and determine if there may be training interventions that enhance the development of coping skills.

“To date there has been very little research in New Zealand, and elsewhere, to see how this phenomenon affects our doctors.. “By establishing what its effects are and what coping mechanisms doctors use who do not experience compassion fatigue, we may identify new training programmes for medical students, so our young doctors are better equipped to deal with it,” he says.

Mr Huggard says that he has already had feedback from senior doctors in New Zealand who have indicated the phenomenon is an issue that needs addressing.

“Compassion fatigue is an occupational stress that anyone in caring and emergency professions can experience, and over the last decade there has been an increasing recognition for the need to develop ways to care for our carers.

”It appears that some doctors may try to avoid experiencing compassion fatigue by remaining emotionally detached from their patients. However overseas research has shown that remaining detached can still lead to stress and emotional exhaustion, and that doctors who show empathy with their patients give better levels of care.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Reuben Moss' Property is Theft! & Kaitani at The Physics Room

Property is Theft! continues Moss’ interest in the contemporary urban environment as a space controlled by pulsing and unequal flows of capital and labour. Kaitani features work by the University of Canterbury Fijian Students Association and Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka. More>>


Handcrafted Form: Rare Treasures From Japan

This unique exhibition at Expressions Whirinaki represents 90 everyday objects made by contemporary Japanese artisans who employ various traditional craft techniques made in regional workshops. The works used in daily life are crafted from raw materials with techniques appropriate to bringing out the best of its medium, balancing ease of use with aesthetic appeal. More>>

Howard Davis Article: A Musical Axis - Brahms, Wagner, Sibelius

Brahms' warm and exquisitely subtle Symphony No. 3 in F major, Wagner's irrepressibly sentimental symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll, and Sibelius' chilling and immensely challenging Violin Concerto in D minor exemplify distinct stages of development in a tangled and convoluted series of skirmishes that came to define subsequent disputes about the nature of post-Romantic orchestral writing well into the following century. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: A Pale Ghost Writer

Reviewed by Ruth Brassington, Richard Flanagan's new novel is about a novelist hastily ghost-writing the biography of a crook about to go to trial. The reader is kept on a cliff-edge, as the narrator tries to get blood out of his stone man. More>>

New Zealand Wars Commemoration: Witi Ihimaera's Sleeps Standing Moetū

The second of several articles to mark Rā Maumahara, remembering the New Zealand Land Wars. The first was a Q&A with Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland