When the Caring Gets Tough: Compassion Fatigue and Veterinary Care; Peter Huggard, Jayne Huggard; VetScript, 2008. We find ourselves mingling less and less with friends, maybe even families, and seek isolation after we clock out. Compassion fatigue is the combination of emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual exhaustion and depletion that can result when we are repeatedly exposed to another’s pain and suffering. • How do we recognize our own compassion fatigue? All rights reserved. Dehydration and sleep deficiency can lead to a host of ailments. So, we know exactly what it is, but how does that relate to veterinary professionals? It’s a particular kind of person who’s attracted to this job. This is being overworked, underslept, burned out or simply really, really exhausted. Copyright ©2020 Kenilworth Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. While compassion fatigue and burnout are widely acknowledged within the human healthcare field, these concepts are new to veterinary medicine, explained Sonja Olson, DVM, former Senior Emergency Clinician at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospitals in the Tampa Bay area. I'm lacking rest (or a Snickers bar!). Despite what Gerald Durrell would have us believe, veterinary practice is no country idyll. We burst into tears when we walk out of the practice and get into our car to go home. Open old cookbooks and refuel your body with wholesome meals. The first step in preventing compassion fatigue is learning to recognize it. Perspective and seeing a bigger purpose really helps. 12655 Jefferson Blvd, Level 4 Growing weary of the work is one thing but pervasive apathy is another. This is often what leads to those tearful drives home. ; JAMA 2009. Looking farther afield? The long hours and tireless tasks of a veterinary job demand a lot of sacrifices. Bloomfield Hills, MI We all need balance in our lives, and a balance between work and home is important. Firstly, an organizational responsibility to care for staff; secondly, an obligation among peers to support colleagues; and thirdly, a personal responsibility to care for oneself.7. Those around you depend upon it more than you may realize. Also, striving for perfection in this area is really difficult—you’re aiming for something you can never reach. If we leave that environment, we might be able to leave behind some of the factors that are causing burnout. firstname.lastname@example.org, Pre-registration, resources & nearby hotels. Keep a consistent sleep schedule and establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Yet with compassion fatigue, we feel the results of those relationships we build with our patients and clients. Luckily, this syndrome has been well studied and much has been written about the causes, signs, and prevention of compassion fatigue. “The second part is burnout. Smiling is pretty simple too. Dr Michael O’Donoghue, owner of People & Pets (which provides vet locum services as well as pet loss support), and a member of the small animals committee of the Australian Veterinary Assocation, describes compassion fatigue almost as an occupational hazard. It inevitably harshly impacts caring, empathic professionals like you who work in an environment of daily traumatic stress. “I do a lot of cycling; it’s a great stress release. When I took an honest look at how I was feeling, I wasnt running out of compassion.
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