Oxygen for Caregivers

We have been working hard on finishing the new video, the third in the series of compassion in the healthcare field.  This one is about stress, burnout and how to survive – even flourish in today’s world.  Have a look (4 minute trailer):

To view full screen, click the icon next to “Vimeo” while playing the video.
To go to the Adventures in Caring website, click here
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And there’s even more to Oxygen for Caregivers…

There are three one-hour sessions in the program, in which you learn to:

  • Incorporate into your lifestyle, strategies and tactics that are known antidotes to burnout.
  • Make distinctions between compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout, and recognize them as occupational hazards.
  • Identify three personal warning signs for the onset of compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout
  • Gain a broader perspective on how others successfully cope with stress.
  • Apply three proven principles that build resilience.
  • Self evaluate in five stages that lead to a customized self care plan, using all of the practices, principles, tactics, strategies and resources above.

As a result: an ever wiser compassion as we change, grow, and thrive in our service to others.


Did you know that…


  • Nurses are more likely to experience on the job violence than all other professions. One third of nurses have been physically assaulted in the last year.
  • The rate of burnout among physicians is 45%. More than one third of physicians may be clinically depressed.
  • Nearly half of all third-year medical students report burnout.
  • The stress scores of palliative care workers are higher than patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • 90% of trauma workers are verbally abused and more than 40% are physically assaulted at work.
  • 57% of social workers have been threatened and 16% physically assaulted.
  • 40-85% of all healthcare workers experience compassion fatigue and/or vicarious trauma, and 20% experience burnout that often ends their occupation.
  • Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council estimated that if nursing burnout rates were reduced to 10%, Pennsylvania hospitals would prevent more than 4,000 infections and save $41 million every year.


Working in health care and emergency services has become dangerous and costly – physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. And who does it hit hardest? Most studies come to the same conclusion: compassion fatigue affects the most caring and dedicated.


Does this sound like a good situation to you? These are the very people upon whom our health and survival may depend one day.


Oxygen for Caregivers is an antidote to burnout and a vital step towards healthier caregivers. Please help us get the word out about this program.

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Advanced Raggedy Skills – Without Knowing it

Article by Simon Fox.

Love by Czeslaw Miloz
Love means to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one among many.
And whoever sees that way, heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills –
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

Through the experience of volunteering with Adventures in Caring, in addition to gaining life skills, volunteers also make – usually without knowing it – some profound spiritual progress.

For example, the Raggedy training weekend is a true rite of passage. It has all the ingredients and hallmarks of such a transformative event in a person’s life – and it produces the results that rites of passage are designed to bring about.

Volunteers are also introduced, again without knowing it, to a profound, rapid, and safe way to transform their lives for the better. Hindus would describe it as a combination of karma yoga and bhakti yoga. This is the yoga of charity, done from the heart. Regardless of one’s faith, setting the ego aside to be of service to others who are suffering, and doing it with great love, is the surest way to travel on the spiritual path.

With such transformative thrust behind us, definite changes occur. What at first seems subtle, becomes obvious. The hints of tiny facial muscles, the shades of meaning in the tone of voice, the pregnant silences filled with questions. These become so loud that people seem to be shouting a declaration of themselves from the mountaintops with every breath. Their state of mind, their hopes and dreams and insecurities, are laid out plainly for all to see – if they have the eyes to see.

Going further, some volunteers begin to become aware of other forces at work – something far greater than themselves. To some, it appears as though a gentle, peaceful presence descends upon them, calming the mind and bringing a deep joy to the heart. Some see it as an all-pervading light bathing everyone in peace. Others feel it as a sudden breath of fresh air that energizes and uplifts them. And some sense it as loving-kindness more beautiful and fragrant than anything they have ever imagined.

To all, it is nonphysical, not originating in any personality. It is vastly bigger, wiser, and more loving than any of us, so we gradually begin to learn how to let it work through us. This “it” we are referring to is the “it” of The Emerald Tablet. And if we consider that “it” has the capacity to perform work – since people are set at ease, hearts open, healthier choices are made, lives change for the better, and miracles happen in “its” presence – then we can correctly call it: energy.

Here begins the work of the alchemist, who learns to transform pain by leaning into it, heart first.

When we have become accustomed to being around this energy of unselfish love, and our egos have gotten used to the idea of a far greater force than itself being present in our lives, we gradually become more transparent to this love, and it flows through us more easily. Then, when we get close enough to embrace the pain, this loving energy can flow through us and literally touch the dis-ease. And in doing so, transform it. This is the alchemy of compassion.

“Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. So suffering must become Love. That is the mystery.” – Katherine Mansfield.

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Why do we care?

Why do we care?

(NOTE: To read a post, click on the HEADLINES, then post comment or story, if you like. To learn more, read “About”)

When we see animals, like elephants, grieving the death of another
we call it a human reaction.
When someone acts with no feelings for others we call them “in-human”.
But even if caring/loving/having compassion is what defines us as human,
it only exists when it is expressed and received.
Compassion is not the event that occurs,
it is that which transpires during the event – and it’s effects are not only felt, but gives measurable positive results.
It is the universal solvent, making healing possible.
Compassion is the elixir to all ills,
yet it only exists through a willful action,
the same way picking up a violin allows music to occur.

Nowhere can compassion be seen playing a bigger role
than in times of human crisis.
When humans are in need they may want physical assistance.
Skills and technology offer what they can,
but when faced with our own mortality,
we turn towards that which is universal.

The healthcare-field is the cutting edge of the question
of what really makes a difference to us humans.
In the doorway between life and death
It is not complicated question.

The funny thing is that compassion given
and compassion received has the same effect:
It slows down time.
It takes us out of isolation.
And it makes life meaningful.

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Raggedy Forum

Stories, insights and ideas from Raggedy Anns and Andys are published in this category.

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Patient’s Stories

In this section we hope to publish stories from patients that have had contact with either Raggedy Anns and Andys, or been touched by caregivers (or volunteers) in a meaningful way.

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Nursing Forum

This is an area intended for the specific challenges (and rewards) of the nursing profession. We welcome stories, questions and good ideas for this extraordinary group of people.

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