Compassion Fatigue | St. Louis Public Radio

Compassion Fatigue

Pat Potter, a former nurse in St. Louis, is noted in the field for her textbook "Fundamentals of Nursing," which is used to teach new nursing students across the country. She retired earlier this spring.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Patricia Potter is noted in the field of nursing for her textbook “Fundamentals of Nursing,” which is used for new nursing students across the country, as well as her groundbreaking teaching of resiliency in nursing, which helps nurses manage stress by combating “compassion fatigue.”

Earlier this spring, Potter retired after 46 years as a nurse, 41 of those she spent at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. At the time of her retirement, Potter was the hospital’s director of research.

(Courtesy Barnes-Jewish Hospital)

Caring for people experiencing pain and suffering day in and day out can be trying for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Especially when they feel like the work is never done. That feeling is called compassion fatigue and at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, they've developed a program to help.

Some might equate compassion fatigue with burnout, but it is more complex than that, said Pat Potter, director of research and compassion fatigue program developer at Barnes-Jewish.