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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My Depravity (and yours too).

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depravityBy Dr. Melissa Cheeks

Happy December, sweet readers! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I loved this quote by Edward Sandford Martin, “Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” Indeed, even on Monday mornings, I urge each one of you to reflect on a few things that you are thankful for. It sets the mind in a better place.

I’ve been convicted over the past several months to think more deeply about a concept known as depravity. In Christian theology, depravity can be defined as “the innate corruption of human nature, due to original sin.” We’re bad, but we don’t always know it.

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The One who Heals

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broken armBy Dr. Melissa Cheeks

I am writing to you upon returning from a walk with a friend. We were talking about grief and healing, as she mourns the loss of a loved one. In the midst of our difficulties, it’s sometimes hard to even find the words to pray, isn’t it?

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Heavy Moments

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By: Dr. Melissa Cheeks

Veterinary medicine is not an easy career, but we already know that. I enjoy talking to our counterparts in the world of human medicine. The things we experience are similar, but fascinatingly different.

heavySome doctors and I were recently talking about the concept of “comfort”, and what it means to pray for patients or families. Is it pointless to pray for comfort? Can people that are non-believers experience true comfort when it’s not God-driven? What should we really be praying for? We struggled through several scenarios, but came to the conclusion that if we are praying genuinely, and asking God to reveal Himself, that’s the most we can do.

God will do the rest.

How can we be spiritual leaders in medical practice, when heavy moments invade our daily lives? My friend described the mental and physical agony that a physician experiences when working on a “code blue” for an hour. I have never done CPR on an animal, but I’ve watched plenty of them die at my own injection. People asked me all the time if I got used to euthanasia. My response was always the same, “euthanasia is never easy”.

I was reading through 2 Corinthians chapter 6 today when I was struck by Paul’s words. My bible reads:

“Paul’s Hardships”

 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

God’s Word has a way of putting everything in perspective. We should always act like followers of Christ, no matter the circumstances. Whether we missed a lunch break, got a mid-day emergency, got stuck on the phone with a difficult client, confronted an employee about a mistake, got sprayed by anal glands, or euthanized three animals in a row. No matter what we are doing, we should always be servants of God.

We will never be perfect. But as my friend says, it’s less about perfection, and more about persistence.

Dr. Cheeks is raising deputation as the North Central Regional Representative for CVM. She is based out of Madison, Wisconsin but works in 8 states, including 6 vet schools. Find out more here: www.cvmusa.org/cheeks

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Compassion Fatigue

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A client begrudgingly told me that she had to work on Saturday. I chimed in that I did as well. Her response was, “Yeah, but your job is fun! You get to work with animals all day, and I have to deal with people!” My internal response was, “Oh honey, if you only knew…”

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He Said, She Said.

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The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (Proverbs 15:2)

There are plenty of aspects of the workplace environment that we can control, but tongues are traditionally difficult. As humans, we are somehow drawn toward scandal. We want to be “in the know” and find out secrets about one another, whispering behind closed doors. In any workplace, it’s easy to be drawn into this endless circle of gossip. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we aren’t doing any real harm; I mean we’re not physically hurting another person, and for that matter, the person of interest likely doesn’t know we’re talking about them. In any insular organization, the threat of gossip becomes larger. So how do we control gossip in our staff while being good leaders?

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