Robyn Weilbacher, RN, MSN, PCCN, CNML, CENP
Executive Director Nursing Critical Care/Heart and Vascular Hospital
Mercy St. Louis
Experience and Activities
Key Professional Activities Outside AACN in the Past 3 Years
Includes involvement with other professional organizations, teaching and/or speaking.
- American College of Healthcare Executives, 2014
- Member/presenter, St. Louis Council of Nurse Leaders, 2012; Generational Differences in Nursing, 2012-2014
- Member, American Organization of Nurse Executives, 2011-2014
- Member, Sigma Theta Tau International, 1987-2014
- Presenter, “Sepsis: Arresting a Killer,” 42nd Biennial Convention, Indianapolis, November 2013
Compassion fatigue is a key issue affecting critical care nurses today. With our fast-paced environment and LOS focus, nurses are being asked to move patients throughout the continuum quickly and effectively. There are many avenues to address compassion fatigue, such as surveys, immediate debriefings, formal counseling, decompression rooms, etc.
Bedside experts and leaders need to recognize the signs of compassion fatigue as well as ways to address, manage and assist in interventions. This process must be done in a multidisciplinary approach and address tragic deaths, extreme patient and family dynamics, workplace hostility and long-term patient/nurse relationships.
Literature cites that physician support is key to nurses feeling secure in decisions and outcomes post-event. AACN could dedicate an entire toolkit to this topic by supplying multiple audit tools, signs and symptoms and ways to recognize, support and divert compassion fatigue. ECCO is also an incredible tool to facilitate conversation around the topic as new nurses are entering the critical care environment. AACN is aware that a nursing shortage is imminent; therefore, keeping highly energized and motivated nursing staff at the bedside is essential for nurses to remain compassionate and strong critical thinkers.