Compassion Satisfaction

“Compassion satisfaction is the pleasure we derive from being able to do our work well.  Higher levels of compassion satisfaction are related to your ability to be an effective caregiver” according to Dr. Beth Hudnall Stamm.  The Professional Quality of Life Scale (PROQOL) Version 5 (2009) was developed by Dr. Beth Hudnall Stamm and can be used to measure compassion satisfaction, burnout and secondary traumatic stress.  This self-assessment is available as a resource on our website.

There are multiple ways in which compassion satisfaction can be cultivated.  Rather than than focusing on the negative or challenging aspects of the work, one can generate positive feelings by focusing on the aspects of the work that are enjoyable.  Remembering accomplishments, positive feedback from clients/patients/supervisors, times when a difference was made in someone’s life, and feeling gratitude for such opportunities can help shift a person’s perspective and elevate his/her mood.  Creation of a “smile file” to keep positive feedback from others, awards, cards, etc. can be helpful to review at times when the work seems overwhelming and you have lost sight of your positive impact.

Building a support network within the workplace can make work more enjoyable.  Reaching out to people in the same profession for support is helpful as they are likely to have experienced similar frustrations and joys while doing their jobs.  It is nice to take the time out to enjoy lunch and conversations with friends at work.  Identifying supervisors and mentors to whom you can go to for advice and/or learning opportunities can be gratifying.

Effective self-care can help you to maintain resiliency and keep your balance, thus contributing to compassion satisfaction.  Creating balance between work, family/friends and personal needs is essential.  Continually assessing and adjusting self-care between these three areas is important in establishing and maintaining balance.  When it seems as if one area of your life is dominating the others, it is time to make an adjustment.  To do so requires contemplation and mindfulness regarding what is working and what is not.

I encourage you to find opportunities to laugh, have fun, play and relax during time spent away from work in order to recharge and return to work refreshed.  It is too easy to get caught in the demands and responsibilities of both work and the home/family.  There will always be more to do and sometimes it can wait.  Your needs are important too!  You’ll have more to give when you acknowledge and respond to your needs.