Vet Student Struggles, Conquer Them Now to Slay Compassion Fatigue Later

I have discovered that motivational speaking and sharing my story on compassion fatigue is an actual passion of mine.  I recently had an opportunity to speak to veterinary students about the real world struggles we face in our profession.

To prep for my speech, I asked myself what was my struggle, what are their struggles and what do I want them to know?  It was quite simple.  My true struggles are self-worth.  That lack of self-worth then trickles into all my other issues; time management, self-care, fear of failure, losing my fun, and nurturing relationships.  What they really needed to know was that they are amazing.  We are all amazing in our own ways, but these students, they are absolutely amazing!!  When I told them so, one of the students got very emotional.  She asked me a question and the tears were on the edge of rolling over and I acknowledged this emotion and encouraged her to let it out.  Her tears were from fatigue, frustration, fear of failure, lack of self-worth and self-care.  They are also being taught and lead by broken and wounded care-givers who can’t possibly role model to them how to live a balanced life.  It was okay to be frustrated but I assured her that she was worth it, that this journey was worth it.  However, to survive vet school and then the practice world they really needed some simple tools of nurturing their self-worth and self-care.

I am passionate about delivering this message to students now so that the horrid words of compassion fatigue and burnout never cross their lips.  I was enlightened to learn that the curriculum is changing, albeit slow, to help students with communication and role playing.  I still know there is a lot more that they need to learn to make it through failure and simple things like eating right, sleeping and moving their body, that they will have to embrace on their own, as the curriculum and time frame of their education won’t allow for it.

I hope just one of them heard me.  I hope that I can continue to be heard.

  • Conquer self-worth struggles to keep many other struggles at bay
  • Manage the basics of sleep, eating right and movement
  • Start now so that when the pressures of practice life push in you are a leg up