The question is, who is responsible for the changes that can help to minimize Compassion Fatigue, you or your employer?
“…over the last decade there has been an increasing awareness of the need to develop ways to “care for our carers”. With this, is a growing recognition of the necessity for a three-pronged approach to managing occupational stress. Firstly, an organization responsbility to care for staff, secondly, an obligation amongst peers to support colleagues, and thirdly, a personal responsbility to care for oneself.” ~ Huggard and Huggard, 2008
I spoke to a practice manager once that had come across this concept of compassion fatigue, acquired some information and an assessment test, and distributed them to her team members. The results of the exploration and test results revealed that indeed, they were affected by compassion fatigue. They came back to the practice manager and said, what are you going to do about it? The manager fought the urge to say in return, what are YOU going to do about it? It has become quite clear that compassion fatigue is an issue for both the person and the practice, or organization. The symptoms we see in people with compassion fatigue are compounded by an environment where others also have compassion fatigue, and the effects multiply until they hit the bottom line and the entire team.
As for the veterinary pactice, here is what they can do to help:
* The practice can provide a place and time for the discussion of compassion fatigue
* The practice can offer tools to the team
* The praactice can give the team as a whole the space to explore compassion fatigue
* The practice can continue ongoing awareness of compassion fatigue and its effects and remedies
However, as the veterinary professional, you must in turn be held responsible:
* The practice can open the conversation, but YOU must talk
* The practice can offer tools, but YOU must take advantage of them
* The practice can give your team the space needed, but YOU must enter in together and help each other
* The practice can make you AWARE, but you must open your eyes!