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 has recently caught the attention of 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).

This is an non-interactive online course that meets RACE requirements; program number 57-10792.


Participation Access Parameters

VetMedTeam courses are asynchronous - they do not contain real time components. Participants log in at times convenient to personal schedules.

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

Participants who are unable to complete a course may re-enroll at their convenience.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

This course is designed for all members of the veterinary team. Due to the importance of this topic, it is highly recommended that practices have all team members complete the course.

After completion of this course, students 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


Participant Evaluations

...I didn't realize how much one persons stress and attitude can affect the entire workplace. It was interesting to learn how conflicts can arise between the techs, dr's, and reception if one person is late or doesn't show up for a shift.

...The subject. It is vital to understand and be able to present to my team the effects of compassion fatigue.

...There were a lot of aspects that I found beneficial. i know that working in the veterinarian field comes with a lot of physical and emotional issues. However I never knew that there is such things like CF. By hearing and reading this modules makes me understand myself and my coworkers more.

... I learned about vicarious trauma which was very interesting to me.

..I liked learning more about something that I think in our field too many people don't know about.

...Learning about actual situations and examples during the lessons. Helped me connect with the concepts better and identify where it could happen in my life.


Course Completion Requirements

  • Examinations: Students must complete the examination(s) with a score of 80% or better

  • Course Survey: Students must 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.

Students who do not access the course for 30 consecutive days will be processed as incomplete.


Course Authors

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


Upcoming Sessions



Price: FREE