Having worked with scores of physicians and other healthcare providers over the years—collegially, clinically, and now as a coach and consultant—I’m well aware of the prevalence of burnout within these professions. In fact, a recent Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 1,327 US health care providers revealed burnout rates as high as 55%. 
Marked by exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of personal inefficacy, burnout results from a prolonged period of work-related stress that stems from working long hours and a demanding work environment. 
Until recently, I thought of burnout and compassion fatigue as one in the same, with the latter being a euphemism for the former. While burnout and compassion fatigue share some of the same cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral characteristics, they differ somewhat in terms of their etiologies.
Like burnout, compassion fatigue results from a prolonged period of work-related stress; the stress in this case, however, stems from caring for patients with complex and often overwhelming physical, cognitive, emotional, and social needs. 
Simply put, whereas burnout occurs when insufficient resources prevent providers from meeting the unrelenting demands of their work environment and the medical system at large, compassion fatigue occurs when insufficient resources prevent providers from meeting the unrelenting demands of complex patients and their families.
And, of course, burnout and compassion fatigue are not mutually exclusive.
The good news is that remedies exist for both of these conditions.
Just as insufficient resources can lead to burnout and/or compassion fatigue, having access to sufficient resources can alleviate and even prevent these conditions from occurring in the first place.
The resources to which I refer fall into two broad categories: external resources, which come from the environment within which one works; and internal resources, which are intrinsic in nature, and vary in degree from individual to individual.