Nurse Martyrdom Helps No One


                                                                By Mariah Taylor

The idea that nursing is not a career but a calling is "false and misleading" and may be an underlying cause of burnout and compassion fatigue in the field, said Keith Carlson, BSN, RN.

Many nurses feel they must "sacrifice everything for patients, even their health and peace of mind." Although nurse martyrdom is not new, the label "helps no one."

"Martyrdom is a root cause of many nurses' experience of burnout and compassion fatigue," Mr. Carlson said. "We're not heroes, saints, or angels — we're human beings with the same flaws and problems as anyone else, and we have a job. While that job may often feel like a calling to many of us, no one should feel the need to insist that a calling should also be a yoke across our shoulders and a heavy cross to bear that can't be put down."

The nurse martyr may experience greater risks of resentment, unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Mr. Carlson said that nurse martyrdom is "like self-imposed shackles" that should be thrown down.

"Even for those who feel that our occupation is a true calling, we can still practice diligent self-care, maintain firm boundaries, and recognize the equal importance of our needs," he said.


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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