Susan C. Kahler wrote an article that appeared on JAVMA titled "Moral stress the top trigger in veterinarians' compassion fatigue". The piece talks about how she suggest redefining veterinarians' ethical responsibility.
Handling ethical dilemmas is the most common cause of poor wellness in veterinary medicine, in the opinion of psychotherapist and compassion fatigue specialist Elizabeth Strand, PhD, and moral stress is the biggest contributor to compassion fatigue in veterinary medicine. Dr. Strand, an associate clinical professor and founding director of the Veterinary Social Work program at the University of Tennessee, addressed the human perspective of compassion fatigue Nov. 4, 2014, during the AVMA Humane Endings Symposium near Chicago.
Dr. Wise's Take
The stress you will encounter as a veterinarian should not be underestimated, vet student. The animal patients we are dedicated to helping all come with a human, who can be considerably more complicated. The impact of euthanasia will build up over time, and some will impact you more than others. The dedication to your patients and clients may lead you to skip meals, neglect exercise, minimize sleep, and miss time off. Believe me, this is not sustainable over time! This article provides very useful information for new and seasoned veterinarians to consider before burn-out and compassion-fatigue set in. Take care of YOU first, and you will do a much better job caring for others.
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