For 12 years, Jan Polizzi was a nurse in pediatric intensive care units. That was as long as she could take it.
''I still recall the first child that I ever lost,'' she said in a 1988 St. Louis Post-Dispatch story. ''I dressed and bathed him and got him his favorite toys. I learned to love that kid and his family.''
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.
Registered nurses at Des Peres Hospital have successfully negotiated their first contract as members of a union.
The Des Peres nurses joined the National Nurses Organizing Committee in 2012. The deal ratified on Thursday adjusts job security protections, bars mandatory overtime, and establishes a committee of nurses to work with hospital management to improve patient care. The agreement also provides for wage increases and secures the nurses’ employer-paid health coverage.