compassion fatigue

noun

Definition of compassion fatigue

1 medical : the physical and mental exhaustion and emotional withdrawal experienced by those who care for sick or traumatized people over an extended period of time Unlike burnout, which is caused by everyday work stresses (dealing with insurance companies, making treatment choices), compassion fatigue results from taking on the emotional burden of a patient's agony.— Tim Jarvis
2 : apathy or indifference toward the suffering of others as the result of overexposure to tragic news stories and images and the subsequent appeals for assistance Several fundraising experts said the Las Vegas collection may trail other donation efforts for several reasons, including "compassion fatigue" … . "Compassion fatigue is a real thing. There have been so many things that happened this year," [Sandy] Rees said. "But it does get overwhelming, and I think people start to tune out."— David Montero

First Known Use of compassion fatigue

1961, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for compassion fatigue

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The first known use of compassion fatigue was in 1961

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Dictionary Entries Near compassion fatigue

compassionate leave

compassion fatigue

compassive

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Cite this Entry

“Compassion fatigue.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compassion%20fatigue. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for compassion fatigue

compassion fatigue

noun

Medical Definition of compassion fatigue

: the physical and mental exhaustion and emotional withdrawal experienced by those that care for sick or traumatized people over an extended period of time Some researchers consider compassion fatigue to be similar to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), except that it applies to those emotionally affected by the trauma of another (eg, client or family member) rather than by one's own trauma.— Michael K. Kearney et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association Clinicians should be aware of how their emotional withdrawal or lability and "compassion fatigue" can jeopardize the care of dying patients and their families.— Deborah Cook and Graeme Rocker, The New England Journal of Medicine

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