“This is the single most important factor to remember if you want to save yourself from vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue, keep the boundary between yourself and your patients very clear.”
During the COVID-19 outbreak, healthcare professionals are going through a lot of physical and mental exhaustion. Prachi Vaish, a Clinical psychologist, highlights the anxiety that these healthcare professionals face, especially during such a crisis.
“Do not get emotionally attached to your patients… It is not your job to provide reassurance to everyone… Your responsibility is only to do what you can, and do it best”
Compassion fatigue is the burnout felt by healthcare professionals after caring for a very long time in their life. As they continue to work tirelessly, it gets difficult for them to identify compassion fatigue. Vicarious trauma is another psychological issue, which she explains as a negative change that occurs within these professionals as they witness and engage with other people’s suffering and needs. As medical practitioners, a lot of emotional support is expected by the patients, which can lead to filling up their emotional cup. When healthcare professionals get emotionally attached to their patient, they suffer from vicarious trauma without even experiencing any sort of trauma themselves.
“When you go home, do not take your work with you even in your mind… Spend time with your family”
Prachi focuses on how these conditions can be identified by simple signs like frequent headaches and irritability, feeling of exhaustion both physically and mentally. Recognizing signs of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma is a step towards recovery. She also shares a few tips on how healthcare practitioners can avoid these conditions by mindfully setting boundaries, not taking the workplace to their respective homes and spending time with friends other than colleagues. She also addresses the major fear faced by these practitioners of being the carriers of these infections and being a threat to their family.
Prachi Vaish is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She has been working in the field of mental health and Clinical Psychology for the last 13 years and started India’s first online psychological therapy portal Hopenetwork.in in 2009.
Her expertise includes personality disorders, trauma recovery and other areas.
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