Oncology nurses are exposed every day to so much pain and suffering. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and drained. Any suggestions? — Kerstin L. McSteen, BSN, MSN, ACHPN, CNS-BC, Minneapolis, MN

Compassion fatigue is very real. It is important to develop strategies to help yourself cope. Do particular patients trigger fatigue? Or is the fatigue generalized – an overall reaction to accumulated stress from caring for oncology patients? If particular patients are more draining, can you take a break from their care, maybe switching assignments? Activate the same coping strategies we offer to oncology patients: Comfort measures—carving out “me time.” Relaxation—music, meditation, etc. Distraction—activities that allow you to forget. Draw on past experiences: what worked for you in the past? Does your hospital offer caregiver support? — Ann Brady, RN, BSN