Compassion Fatigue: Managing Risk in Animal Care

by Mary Haight on October 31, 2014

compassion fatigue and suicideCompassion fatigue, depression, and suicide in the veterinary community has been in the news recently, with the stunning loss of internationally renowned animal behaviorist and speaker Dr Sophia Yin, DVM.

Because the Veterinary field is first in suicides by profession, with other animal care workers not far behind, we thought this month Dancing Dog Blog would use the time with Dr Apryl Steele to explore what compassion fatigue is, define the symptoms, and offer ways to manage risk at the practice level, in shelters, and in rescue efforts where often individuals are working alone and out of their homes.

Dr Jane Shaw, Associate Professor of Veterinary Communications at Colorado State University has a veterinary degree, a PhD in Epidemiology and conducts skills-based communications workshops nationally and internationally at veterinary conferences and symposia. Dr Steele convinced Dr Shaw to join us for this podcast and we are honored to have her with us today. Since she teaches veterinary practices how to set up programs to manage the risk of compassion fatigue, depression, and suicide, what better person to speak to all the questions I and listeners have?

Suicide risk in the animal care community

What Do You Want to Know? Some Questions Answered

Yes, we’ll have all the basic (and some not so basic) questions for you in the podcast, like:

  1. What is Compassion Fatigue?
  2. What are common symptoms?
  3. What tools and coping skills are available?
  4. How do you deal with compassion fatigue when you’re in it?
  5. How can you recognize potential suicides?
  6. What types of help are available?
  7. How do you cope with euthanasia?
  8. How do you keep compassion fatigue away?

Full disclosure: The three of us tried to record our session, but had technical trouble and time was up. This interview was recorded with Dr Shaw and Dr Steele separately, then transferred to one podcast.

You can contact Dr. Jane Shaw at Veterinary Communication for Professional Excellence You may also want to check out this resource on finding meaning that’s discussed in the podcast. Though tailored for Veterinarians, it could be used as a model for other groups.

As always, if you have questions, you can email me (see the About section) or ask in the comments. This is an important topic, so please use those share buttons if you agree =)


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