Laurie

Book Review: Compassion Fatigue and Burnout in Nursing: Enhancing Professional Quality of Life. Vidette Todaro-Franceschi, 2013, Springer Publishing Co., LLC. Reviewed by Laurie Barkin RN, MS., author of The Comfort Garden: Tales from the Trauma Unit Vidette Todaro-Franceschi’s book, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout in Nursing, is heartfelt and academic, thorough, thoughtful, personal, and refreshingly non-formulaic. […]

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Since publishing The Comfort Garden in 2011, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to groups of nurses and other healthcare professionals about compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and self-care. Looking out upon my audience, I notice much head nodding and sometimes dramatic aha! moments when I describe the signs and symptoms of the first two topics. […]

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Last week, bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In West, Texas, a fertilizer factory exploded. Elsewhere in the country it was trauma as usual: car crashes, gunshot wounds, stab wounds, rape, burns, and on-the-job accidents. In my work as a psychiatric liaison nurse on the trauma unit at San Francisco General […]

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These days, very few hospitals employ psych liaison nurses. We are told it’s because we’re expensive but the other reason is that much of our work is hidden and therefore unknown. How does an institution measure the cost of incidents in which patients injure themselves, leave against medical advice, verbally abuse or physically assault staff, […]

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In my world, the wheels of progress turn slowly but steadily. You can now download The Comfort Garden from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, and soon we hope from iTunes. The other piece of good news is that I will be joining the new nursing website, RNsights, as one of the “ask the experts” […]

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In Life Support:Three Nurses on the Front Lines (1997), Suzanne Gordon, a non-nurse journalist who writes passionately about nursing, showcases the personal and professional lives of three expert nurses at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital during the glory days of primary nursing. Before the mergers and cuts of Managed Care in the mid-90s, these nurses practiced […]

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The term “vicarious traumatization” describes the emotional, psychological, and spiritual changes that take place within an empathic person as a result of regular exposure to other peoples’ traumas. It is also known as “secondary stress.” Vicarious trauma is a component of  “compassion fatigue.” Vicarious trauma affects nurses, therapists, social workers, teachers, police officers, firefighters, journalists, […]

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My friend Carol, an ICU nurse in her fifties, told me about one of her patients, a 62-year-old real estate agent who had been hospitalized for seven months. He asked that ‘older nurses’ be assigned to his care. As an ‘older nurse,’ I wanted to hear why Chuck had this preference. Carol got the OK […]

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During the five years that I worked as a psychiatric liaison nurse on the surgical/trauma unit at San Francisco General Hospital with people who had survived motor vehicle and other major accidents, fires and injuries, I listened to hundreds of trauma stories. In the course of conducting thorough psychiatric evaluations, I asked my patients about […]

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