What is compassion fatigue?

What is compassion fatigue?

Jan 01, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Compassion fatigue, or the stress you feel as a result of constantly supporting the emotions of others, comes from not taking time out for yourself. For example, after a pet euthanasia, you most likely turn your attention to helping the grieving client. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t forget to console yourself. After all, you too just went through a difficult experience.

One of the most common causes for veterinary compassion fatigue is the prolonged and continuous exposure to pet death and client grief. Failing to address your emotions can result in a type of grief pileup. When this happens, traumatic memories can invade your daily thoughts, much like post-traumatic stress disorder. It can also result in feelings of resentment, anger, and disdain for others, including clients and co-workers. On the other hand, compassion fatigue can cause you to become emotionally detached, ripping away your passion for working with animals.

While it may sound foreign and even selfish to put yourself before others, self-care is the key to dealing with and preventing compassion fatigue.

To learn more about compassion fatigue, click here.