Combating Compassion Fatigue

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By: Dr. Melissa Cheeks

 

“Do you have any plans for the weekend?” I asked my client on a Friday afternoon. She rolled her eyes while grumpily replying, “Ugh, yeah- I have to work tomorrow.”

I chirped back, “Oh, me too.”

Her response was one I’ll never forget:

“Yeah, but your job is SO fun. You just get to work with animals- I have to deal with people.”

I was accustomed to putting on my veterinary poker face, so I smirked internally as I gently reminded her that each of my patients comes with a person attached to the leash. Despite my honest reply, she was not convinced that my job could be anything other than puppies and rainbows.

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Finding the Balance

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By: Dr. Devon Spencer

As veterinarians we use ingenuity in the clinic every day, adapting what we do to fit a unique problem, patient, client or combination of all three. But when it comes to finding balance in our lives we tend to run out of unique solutions. Our work is very demanding but God demands that we give Him everything.

Matthew 22:37 tells us, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”  He also tells us in Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” These two scriptures have helped guide my family into finding balance in our work and home lives.

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Finding the Right First Job

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By: Dr. Jordan Spears

Searching for your first job after vet school can be a very stressful process. There is a lot of pressure to have the perfect job secured before you graduate. If you are a 4th year still in the job hunting process, I feel for you, I really do! It wasn’t long ago I was in your same position, feeling the exact same pressure, and most likely the same anxiety.

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Don’t Let Debt Control You

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By: Dr. Pat Murack

Debt. Whether it is from a credit card, a mortgage payment, and/or that mountain of student loan debt, most of us have some form of it. The key to being financially healthy is to control the debt and not let the debt control you.

According to the AVMA, the average veterinary graduate in 2013 had $162,000 in student loans. That is a lot of money but not something that needs to control you. Do not be like the prodigal son and spend all of your new-found money (veterinary salary) on foolish things. But instead align your heart to God and let him guide you in your finances.

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Intentionally Sharing the Love of Christ

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By: Dr. Glenn Gaines

Did I make a difference? That question probably crosses everyone’s mind at some time or another. I don’t remember thinking much about that as a kid, but the older I get, the more it comes to mind. The thought of living a life without impact is not one that any of us want to leave behind. Most of us want to have family, friends, clients and others to be positive about the footprint that we leave on their lives.

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Living a Prayerful Life

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By: Dr. Fred Van Gorkom

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers

The Bible enjoins us to pray with persistence and faith, with worship and adoration, petition and thanksgiving.  Jesus often went out alone to commune with the Father—even in Gethsemane while the disciples couldn’t stay awake. When the test came, He passed while the disciples fled.

What might a life of intentional prayer look like for a veterinarian in private practice?

Start each morning with prayer. My wife, Vicki, and I are intentional to pray together every morning before we get up. Years ago I was visiting long-time CVM advocates Stan and Evelyn Agenbroad. Early one morning during my visit I walked out into the front room and witnessed a special moment. They were facing each other, holding each others hands, heads bowed in earnest prayer and silhouetted by the eastern dawn.  It was truly a beautiful and sacred moment.

Take time early in the day for private prayer too—for yourself, your family, church, community, nation, for missions, other nations and people groups, and the persecuted. I choose to wear a wrist band in order to remind myself to pray; each morning when I put it on, and each evening when I take it off, I pray, and put a specific emphasis on praying for those facing persecution.

Heading off to work? Consider praying (with your eyes open!) while you commute. It’s a great way to spend your time traveling. Pray for your clients you will be seeing that day, your coworkers, friends, and for His leading and blessing throughout the day.

Depending on your work environment, it may be appropriate to start the work day by praying with your staff. It’s a beautiful way to lift up each others burdens to the Lord and build a sense of family community among staff.

Another way to intentionally incorporate prayer into your life is to pray silently throughout the day for each client as you enter the exam room. When appropriate, ask them if they would like for you to pray with them. Do the same with phone calls and emails, and be intentional. If they have specific requests and your memory slips then perhaps consider keeping a list. You can then pray through the list and follow up later. What a way to show the love of Jesus, demonstrate you care, and build relationships for a witness (as well as for business)!

In recent years, I’ve started memorizing prayers recorded in Scripture—so much richer than my run-of-the-mill prayer for protection when traveling from point A to point B. For example, in Philippians 1: 9-11 Paul prays that:

  • our love will abound more and more with knowledge and depth of insight,
  • that we’ll discern what’s best,
  • that we’ll be pure and blameless, and
  • that we’ll be filled with the fruit of righteousness.

In this country we are very blessed. Things often go pretty smoothly—the spiritual battle is more hidden here. By contrast in international missions, even if you pray as hard as you can—things often still blow up around you. God keeps you hanging on to Him, and your faith grows.

What a privilege we have to take our burdens to Christ! He cares. While His ways and thoughts are as high above ours as the heavens are above the earth, He answers when it’s best. Watch and pray—it’s so exciting to see the living God at work!

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