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Caring for Animals, Caring For You: A Veterinarian’s Ultimate Guide to Self-Care

Caring for Animals, Caring For You: A Veterinarian’s Ultimate Guide to Self-Care

Veterinary work is a profession of compassion, with critical decisions occurring quite frequently. Dr. Laurie Fonken, a veterinary student and psychological counselor at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, told Veterinary News that young people entering the practice are especially vulnerable to intense stress right after they’ve received training. She stated,

“The pressure to perform increases once they’re out of practice…They have this vision of what their life is going to be like, but they feel they can’t let anyone down. They feel trapped, like there’s no way out.”

Even for those who haven’t recently entered the field, seasoned veterinary professionals may find themselves with compassion fatigue, and even guilt and grief following the euthanasia of an animal. Steve Noonan, a career coach and veterinarian, stated that between the economy, the demand for performance, and terminating life, work can be incredibly stressful. In lieu of all this, it becomes even more difficult to take care of one’s personal needs, as work demands more and more. If you haven’t already, begin taking care of your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Do not allow your work to place you on the backburner. Put simply, the best performance you can give is at your best – why neglect the very things that ensure you reach and maintain this level?

A 2017 study published in the Irish Veterinary Journal sought to explore burnout and compassion fatigue amongst veterinary nurses. Researchers from the study emphasized the following self-care activities in order to increase one’s well-being and chances of handling occupational stress appropriately:

  • Making healthy lifestyle changes
  • Reducing work hours
  • Ensuring adequate sleep
  • Practicing optimism, self-confidence, level-headedness, and resourcefulness in times of hardship
  • Gaining better insight in recognizing symptoms of stress and finding effective ways to manage it

Veterinary care is an incredibly demanding profession, with many spending nights and weekends to tend to sick, injured, or dying animals. This type of care is critical, but it’s important to remember that a doctor cannot perform their best work if they are under too much stress to function appropriately. Take care of yourself. Find ways to make your mental health a priority. You – and your patients – will be thankful you did.

If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today about programs for mental illness and addiction. It’s never too late to seek the help you need.

Created by professionals for professionals, our Professionals Treatment Program utilizes industry proven practices for fully restoring professionals back to better health. We serve multiple industries with our specifically catered programs and services, providing life changing car for addiction and co-occurring issues. Call us today to book an appointment: 855-422-4129

References

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/burden-care-0

https://irishvetjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13620-017-0108-7

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