Patricia Jakel Comments on Combating Burnout in the Acute Care Setting

Patricia Jakel, RN, MN, AOCN, discusses burnout and compassion fatigue in acute oncology care.

Compassion does not [cause] fatigue but burnout can, Patricia Jakel, RN, MN, AOCN, explains. “Compassion cannot fatigue. That is not a true terminology. [Compassion] is like an endless well; you [just] have to make sure that you put back into it.”

Jakel, an advanced practice nurse at University of California Los Angeles Health, and coeditor-in-chief of Oncology Nursing News®, spoke at a well-being discussion at the 47th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress. In the lecture, she addressed how the oncology nurse can put themself first both professional and personally and what they require from their institutions to deliver quality care to their patients.

Nurses need to be supported by their institutions, says Jakel. This does not mean gifts or lunches, but resources for staff. There needs to be knowledge that there will be a full team of nurses helping on a night shift, for example.

Furthermore, creating thoughtful boundaries are essential to longevity, she notes, adding, “If you are mindful and you are present with that patient, and not thinking about—and I am guilty of this—'I have to pick up my son at preschool’ or ‘I've got to do this [or that]’, and you really spend the time with them, [you can] walk out of the hospital and say ‘OK, that is behind me. I need to move forward and be mindful of my family and be mindful of what I need to do now.’ That [will] really restore your compassion.”