Course Closed Effective December 20, 2022

December 20, 2022 is the last day for enrollment. All students must have completion requirements submitted by January 15, 2023. Those who have not completed by January 15th will be processed out of the course as incomplete.


Course Overview

Compassion fatigue is a term used heavily in the human medical field, particularly human nursing. It can be described as the “cost of caring for others in emotional need.” The impact of compassion fatigue is now being realized by the veterinary community. Every veterinary team member is exposed to this potentially career-ending emotion. Unless it is identified and managed, it could have very detrimental effects.

For example, every member of the veterinary practice team strives to provide the best medical service to every client on a daily basis. However, some owners are unable, or unwilling, to accept team recommendations. Over time, team members begin to feel helpless and unsuccessful in their mission to provide serve the needs of their patients.

It is vital to identify compassion fatigue and to manage the stressors associated with it. Team members need to learn how to recognize the signs of burnout in others as well. When Caring Hurts: Managing Compassion Fatigue will help each participant define and identify compassion fatigue through the understanding of the Human-Animal Bond. Causes, including empathy, burnout, compassion, fatigue and vicarious trauma, are discussed at length, along with examples of signs and associated symptoms.

Compassion fatigue not only has an impact on the “self” but on the “practice” as well, severely affecting the client and patient. Methods to manage compassion fatigue complete the course, providing exercises and successful tips for both participants and managers.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 3 RACE hours of continuing education credit for veterinary technicians and veterinarians in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval. However, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery.

This course is applicable for 3 CE credits toward the continuing education requirement for the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager program offered by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA).

RACE Subject Category: Non-Medical; Delivery Method: Non-interactive Distance; Program Number 57-44834.


Content Authors

Julianne G. Evenhus, CVT, CFE and Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM


Learning Objectives

After completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • define the Human-Animal Bond
  • identify the behaviors associated with empathy, burnout and compassion fatigue
  • consider the effect of compassion fatigue on one’s self and on the practice
  • facilitate the treatment of burnout and compassion fatigue in practice team members
  • explain the importance of developing a protocol to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue in practice team members


Enrollment, Participantion, and Completion Parameters

This course is "on demand." Participants may enroll at any time. Upon submission of enrollment the participant is immediately added to the course. The course welcome email provides login and other important information.

This is an asynchronous course, meaning it does not contain real time components. Participants do not need to be logged into the course at specific times to attend lectures or view presentations.

Participants do not need to complete the course in one sitting. However, students who do not access the course within 30 days of last access will be processed as incomplete. Any activity within the course will reset to the full 30 days time allotment.

The completion requirements for this course are:

  • complete the examination with a score of 80% or better - multiple attempts are permitted
  • submit the course survey

Upon submission of the final completion requirement, the participant will automatically be marked as completed and the course completion email will be sent out. The participant will have immediate access to the certificate.

Participants who are unable to complete a course may re-enroll at their convenience providing the course is still available.


Participant Feedback

...I am a veterinary technician suffering from compassion fatigue. This lecture was amazing to me because I could identify with SO many of the scenarios posed! It helped me see how CF could have been postponed for me if I or my place of employment had done things differently. It also helped me see where a lot of my stress in the workplace came from. Overall, I have a much better understanding of CF, which is very valuable to how I see myself as a technician..

...I most appreciated the tools offered to managers to help team members cope with symptoms of compassion fatigue. I also found it useful to learn about the fiscal impact of compassion fatigue on the practice, which gave me a foundation from which to petition the practice owners to consider offering EAP programs and other support to our team.

...Well thought out, concise, interesting and engaging course content. Statistics specific to veterinary professionals (i.e. that many veterinary professionals experiences abuse in past, and vet tech have highest level of CF among veterinary professionals).

...The examples of compassion fatigue expressed through the eyes of real employees in the veterinary field. It was a very good way to show what each team member in different positions of a practice feel like when faced with difficult stressful and emotional situations. I also enjoyed the story about "Abner," told by the assistant to a house-call vet. It was very touching.

...I work in the emergency department of my hospital, so we deal with a lot of patients and owners who are experiencing the worst days of their lives. We end up doing a lot of CPR and even more euthanasias. Under these conditions, I believe CF sets on even quicker than in a GP setting. It was nice to see that I'm not alone and that there are enough people dealing with these feelings to give it a name and a plan.

...I have been a tech for 34 years and never realized that what I was feeling was compassion fatigue. I have a better understanding of how to deal with it now.

...This was the best CE I have had in a very long time. I was able to recognize things about myself I had overlooked for a very long time.

...good references provided. The PDF is also very beneficial for team meeting/staff development...

...Learning about ways to keep morale high in the workplace including a suggestion box and a feel good file.

...This was very eye opening to me. I didn't really know anything about compassion fatigue until I saw this and it interested me so I signed up to take it. But through the case studies and examples they relayed in their messages really opened my eyes to how much mental damage I am exposed to every day. I see these kinds of harmful experiences every single day and I did not know it could be so damaging to my well-being. So learning what they are and how I can avoid them and find ways to rid my mind of the negativity every day is so beneficial to me.

...Understanding how CF relates to CVTs, and that we are more likely to develop this. Other points of view in the case studies also help us to relate to other team members' thoughts.

...very relateable. After 11 years as a technician, I start to see that I suffer from compassion fatigue and it could be the primary cause to my depression, anxiety, loss of sleep and reoccurring of past cases, that bring me sadness even when it's been years.



Price: FREE


Course Closed

December 20, 2022 is the last day for enrollment. All students must have completion requirements submitted by January 15, 2023. Those who have not completed by January 15th will be processed out of the course as incomplete.