Aug 24, 2017

“Leaving work each day I always felt like I didn’t do enough for residents”

Submitted by Anonymous

Feeling run down, overworked and – it goes without saying – underpaid.

Now I’m not complaining because I really love my job.

I am a nurse. I have worked passionately as a nurse for years now. My passion has always been for caring for the elderly and aged care.

But I can’t help but say it. I struggle on a daily basis with the stress of the job, I struggle with the lack of time to spend quality time with residents and most of all it eats inside of me that I feel sometimes I can’t do everything that I know ideally should be done due to not enough time.

I can promise you that I’m not the only person who has felt like this. And if you find that you can relate to some of the things I’m saying, then know that you are not alone.

Even the most resilient people will eventually hit a wall. And I hit mine.

Compassion fatigue is when a caregiver, aged worker, nurse, or other helper becomes extremely burned out after many months or years of being selfless and giving.

Compassion fatigue can also be described as a feeling of complete emotional and physical exhaustion, leading to feelings of despair and hopelessness.

It does get me down and overtime I’ve learnt to deal with it. While compassion fatigue can be quite scary and for some lead to feelings of depression, it’s important to keep in mind that with appropriate self care it is temporary.

The main way to combat compassion fatigue is to take better care of yourself and make yourself a priority.

Take a break, allow yourself to recharge.

Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish. In fact, doing so will help refill your well of empathy so you can be an even more effective caregiver.

When you give yourself some time and space, hopefully you will come back and see the smiling faces on the residents. And really see how much of a difference you make to their day – everything else will be well worth it.

What do you have to say? Comment, share and like below.

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  1. I have been an aged carer for over a decade and I love working with the aged.
    I just want to say that, for me personally, I have always been able to spend quality time with my residents. If that is 15 – 20 minutes with them while assisting them with their ADL’s or during the evening assisting them to retire for the night.
    I believe no matter how long one is in the room with them, that time and that time alone is how you use it.
    Each time before I leave their room I see that they have a smile on their face and thank me as they do. When I leave their room I know that I have made their morning or their night as good as I can.
    When people say they don’t get enough money it irks me. I know we have to ‘earn a living’ and ‘pay the bills’ however there are less fortunate countries that are way more underpaid than in Australia. For eg. Canada. I lived in Canada for two years and the wage there was under half of what I get paid here in Australia. The cost of living is the same. So when I hear about more pay I think how lucky I am to even have a job that I love and appreciate that I am getting what I get.
    Working short staffed is another thing that I sigh about. If the ‘team’ works as A TEAM then the work can still be like there was full staff. Quality time with the residents is one that only YOU or I can make.
    Thank you

  2. IF the wages in Canada are really half of what Aussie aged care nurses receive, then I am appalled. Aged care wages in Australia ARE also disgusting when compared to the average Aussie wage. When is our very rich society going to VALUE the work we do !?
    I also feel as if I have short changed people when you can only give a person 15 mins of your time a day. ITS NOT ENOUGH ! Especially as more and more aged residents have very high complex health care. There is always someone who does not get the time they really need because of this !

  3. Working as an Assistant Nurse, I had more time in which I could have a chat with residents. I even had time to take my flute/violin in to play a couple of tunes and make people smile and sing every now and then. However as a Registered Nurse, you’ve got mountains of paperwork, phone calls to field, rostering to worry about (after hours), not to mention the clinical stuff. I feel bad that I can’t give people the time which they deserve. Rushed encounters are the norm. I can offer people a smile though and residents do comment that they like seeing me because I give them a smile. And yes, I too also leave work on a regular basis feeling as though I should have done more for the residents. There just isn’t the time, and it gets a lot of staff down.

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