When I present the topic of compassion fatigue to veterinary teams, there is a Caregiver’s Bill of Rights from Patricia Smith (founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project) that I like to share. One of these “rights” states that we as caregivers deserve to receive adequate pay for our job as a caregiver…and I pause.
Then I share one of my “theories” on the age-old issue of pay in our profession. The theory is this…that none of us likely entered veterinary medicine with the expectation that we would become rich or wealthy. But it didn’t matter, we wanted to care for animals, and the emotional satisfaction gained from this caregiving offset the amount of pay we received. We were happy with our work, happy with our potential to help, and pay was not the most important factor.
BUT, as emotional satisfaction wanes, whether due to burnout OR compassion fatigue, all of a sudden “you can’t PAY me enough to do THIS job!” Pay becomes critical, it suddenly must offset the dissatisfaction we have either started to feel or been coping with for quite some time. After all, why else would someone who is in this profession regardless of the pay, decide to leave the profession five, ten, fifteen years later?
It’s something to think about, don’t you think???