Experiencing Compassion Fatigue After CNA Training? 5 Ways to Cope

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As a CNA, you witness the pain, suffering, and fear of your patients every single day. Sometimes you are able to keep your distance, like you were taught to do in CNA training, but other times you completely dive into the trials and lives of your patients. When this happen, you may begin to suffer from compassion fatigue, or what is often referred to as secondary PTSD. When this happens, you can quickly become burned out and lose much of your mental energy.


After CNA Training: Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue


Secondary PTSD, or compassion fatigue, can greatly affect your ability to perform you job after CNA training, so it is essential you understand and have the ability to recognize the symptoms associated with this problem.


  • Your job performance decreases and the number of mistakes you make increase
  • Every waking moment you are thinking about your patients and their problems
  • You aren’t interested in doing anything
  • You are having difficulty sleeping
  • You don’t have an energy, aren’t as efficient as usual, and you aren’t as satisfied with your job
  • You feel weary all of the time


Not sure if you are suffering from compassion fatigue? It may be time to open your eyes. Take a look at the way you are reacting to your coworkers and patients. Is it any different than the way you reacted when you first completed CNA training? Are you more sensitive? Do you coworkers become frustrated with you more easily? Are you patients acting too needy? When you take the time after CNA training to look at how others see you and your affect on the people you work with and care for, you can determine whether you are suffering from compassion fatigue.


Strategies for Dealing With Compassion Fatigue After CNA Training


  • Exercise- While you might feel as if you don’t have the time to exercise after CNA training, the benefits of doing so, both mentally and physically, are worth the effort.


  • Personal Life- When you are stressed out after CNA training, you might not feel like getting out and enjoying a personal life, but it is very important. Take the time to eat lunch with friends, attend family dinners, pray, meditate, or go to the movies. These efforts will revitalize you and keep you going.


  • Set Boundaries- When you are home, be at home. When you are at work, be at work. After CNA training, it can be easily to let your helpful and caring nature overtake your personal life. Don’t let it. Keep your CNA training out of your home life and your home life out of your job.


  • Laugh- After CNA training, you might notice that many CNAs, nurses, and doctors have a great sense of humor. Laughter is often called the best medicine, and when it comes to stress, this is definitely the case. Don’t be afraid to laugh and enjoy life.


  • Continued CNA Training- If you focus entirely on your patients, you limit yourself. You won’t be able to connect with the people you love and you won’t be able to grow as a CNA. While it is important to care for your patients, don’t let your compassion stop you from bettering yourself through continued CNA training so you can fulfill all of your dreams.


Life after CNA training can be rough. If you think you are have compassion fatigue, use these five strategies to overcome it after CNA training.

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