Moving From Compassion Fatigue to Compassion Resilience

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Save The Date

Save the Date for a continuing education webinar presented by Debbie L. Stoewen, DVM, MSW, RSW, PhD

Date:  Sunday, November 21, 2021

Time:  3 pm EST (New York); What time is that in my time zone?

Register today for this free, interactive, web-based seminar.



Caring for others can be extremely satisfying, yet it can also incur a cost, “the cost of caring,” commonly known as compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is recognized as an occupational hazard within the health care professions where compassion is at the core of practice. Compassion is key to the delivery of veterinary services and the cornerstone of the helping relationship, yet the ability to work in a compassionate manner can wane. Almost everyone who cares for ‘others in distress’ will eventually experience some degree of compassion fatigue, and the consequences are real and often far-reaching – personally, professionally, and even organizationally.

This session looks at the concept of compassion fatigue from the traditional perspective, as the manifestation of compassion stress and burnout, and a new perspective, as chronic empathic distress. With both perspectives in mind, the causes, symptoms and consequences are explored, followed by specific methods to build resilience.

The mitigation, transformation, and treatment of compassion fatigue is centered in the concept of resilience. In veterinary practice – as well as the animal care community at large – resilience starts with awareness of compassion fatigue, and through a person-in-environment perspective, grows by implementing personal and organizational approaches, strategies, and practices. We are each resilient in our own ways, but can become even more resilient by expanding our knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Resilience is a career-long process that does not just happen. Learn how you and your organization, person by person and as a team, can become more resilient, and in this, sustain your compassion, commitment, and career fulfillment.


Lecture outline

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Dr. Gregory Rich
Compassion — A health care priority, core value, and ethical imperative

  • Helping naturally starts from a place of compassion
  • Compassion is the essential quality in caring for others
  • Practical value or benefits of compassion in the practice

Understanding compassion fatigue

  • Compassion fatigue as the manifestation of secondary traumatic stress and burnout
  • Compassion fatigue as the manifestations of chronic empathic distress
  • Why it’s so important to learn about it

Causes of compassion fatigue

  • Dual caring role (patient and client)
  • The nature of practice
  • The complexity of medical care decision-making, ethical conflict, and moral di/stress
  • Euthanasia (moral dilemmas, grief)
  • Social and professional isolation
  • Sources of work-related stress that contribute to burnout (workload etc.)
  • Personal aspects of the caregiver

Symptoms and consequences of compassion fatigue

  • Symptoms
  • Personal consequences
  • Professional consequences
  • Organizational consequences

Mitigating, transforming, and treating compassion fatigue

  • It’s all about building resilience
    • Personal approaches, strategies, and practices
    • Organizational approaches, strategies, and practices


About the presenter

Dr. Debbie Stoewen is a licensed veterinarian and registered social worker with a Ph.D in the field of veterinary medical communication. With 25 years of practice experience, including being the founder and sole proprietor of a companion animal hospital, she is well-versed in the daily realities of veterinary practice. Debbie earned both her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (1983) and her Doctor of Philosophy (2012) from the University of Guelph. She also earned a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario (2005). [MORE]


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Webinar FAQ

How do I view the live webinar event?

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email via Zoom. To access the webinar on November 21, simply select the Join Webinar button OR copy and paste your personalized URL link into your browser.

When entering the webinar “room”, you will be prompted to download webinar service software. This software can be downloaded immediately before the webinar or right now to ensure a pleasant, viewing experience.

Do I need special equipment to view and listen to a webinar?

All you need is a computer (or similar device) with an internet connection. Provided your computer has speakers (can you listen to music?) you will be able to view and listen to the webinar.

What web browsers are recommended?

Recommended browsers include Internet Explorer 8 or greater, Mozilla Firefox 3 or greater, Google Chrome or Safari 4 or later. Adobe® Flash® Player 11.3 or later must be installed.

What if I’d like to view the course on a mobile device?

Apps for viewing the webinar are available for and .

Will I be able to ask questions?

If you attend the live webinar, you will be able to ask questions by typing into a chat box on the webinar screen. The speaker will read out and answer as many of the questions as possible.

What happens if I miss the live webinar?

The webinar will be recorded, and the recorded version will be available for viewing after the live presentation.

Additional questions or concerns?
Please contact LafeberVet at


RACE approval

This program 856681 is approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Continuing Education (RACE) to offer a total of 1.00 CE credits to any one veterinarian and/or 1.00 veterinary technician CE credit. This RACE approval is for Category Two: Non-Scientific Clinical using the delivery method of Interactive-Distance. This approval is valid in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE; however, participants are responsible for ascertaining each board’s CE requirements. RACE does not “accredit” or “endorse” or “certify” any program or person, nor does RACE approval validate the content of the program.

To cite this page:

Stoewen DL. Moving from compassion fatigue to compassion resilience. LafeberVet web site. October 12, 2021. Available at