Are you suffering from compassion fatigue?

Dr. Debbie Stoewen can help with The Social Side of Practice

Are you a veterinarian suffering from stress, depression, or chronic physical ailments? If so, you may be suffering from compassion fatigue, an emotional and physical “cost of caring” hazard for veterinarians and other animal health professionals that can also cause headaches, exhaustion, feelings of isolation, emotional disconnection, and a sense of meaninglessness.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 10% of U.S. veterinarians reported feeling psychologically distressed from compassion fatigue, and roughly 66% of veterinarians reported feeling depressed.

Unfortunately, many veterinary professionals often ignore the signs of compassion fatigue, and when left unchecked, compassion fatigue not only impacts patient care and clinic reputation by causing absenteeism, apathy, and agitation that can lead to a toxic work environment. Compassion fatigue can cause negative coping strategies like alcohol and drug abuse, or suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Debbie Stoewen (DVM, MSW, RSW, PhD) has helped thousands of veterinary professionals achieve happiness, health, and prosperity in practice as the creator of The Social Side of Practice. A fully accredited veterinary continuing education program, The Social Side of Practice is designed to provide guidance, insights, and strategies on the non-medical aspects of practice so veterinary professionals can offer the very best to patients, clients, and each other. Focused on wellness, client communication, teamwork, leadership, and organizational culture, The Social Side of Practice delivers the knowledge that personal health and happiness are integral to practising good medicine.



I really enjoyed the warmth of the speaker. She is the perfect person to present the intense but delicate topic of compassion fatigue. Many thanks for sharing this valuable knowledge with us all!


Launched in 2014, The Social Side of Practice has helped over 6,000 people at veterinary practices, veterinary and veterinary technology colleges, university-sponsored veterinary wellness days, veterinary academy and association meetings, veterinary leadership meetings, and provincial, national, and international veterinary and social work conferences.

The Social Side of Practice is a series of interactive presentations that can be chosen according to your needs and interests. Each module is designed to inspire in-depth learning by offering sessions on related topics. Each module consists of four sessions that empower veterinarians and their teams with the tools and knowledge to return to wellness, and all sessions are eligible for CE credits.




This session was very informative and has helped me realize a few things about myself. I feel like I never would have thought of many of your points. Thank you!

Sessions include:

Facilitating Euthanasia Conversations

The session covers the underlying social dynamics that make euthanasia discussions so difficult and the communication principles that enable greater effectiveness with end-of-life decisions.

Compassion Fatigue

What It Is, What It Isn’t, and What Can Be Done

The session covers what compassion fatigue is, why veterinary teams are especially vulnerable, how compassion fatigue affects individuals, teams, and practices, and how you, your team, and your practice can manage compassion fatigue.

Compassion Satisfaction

Flourishing in Practice

The session covers how compassion can lead to fatigue or satisfaction, and ways to create an optimal environment for practices to flourish.

This Is Your Life

Let’s Talk About It

The session covers the myths and facts about suicide, the risk and preventative factors, and the warning signs and how to respond.

If you or your team are suffering from compassion fatigue, help is available.

Contact LifeLearn today to find out more about how Dr. Debbie Stoewen can help you, your team, and your practice flourish in health and happiness with The Social Side of Practice. Reach out today.

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About Dr. Debbie Stoewen

Dr. Debbie Stoewen is a veterinarian and social worker with a PhD specializing in veterinary medical communication. She is the Director of Veterinary Affairs at LifeLearn, Inc., wherein she supports innovative initiatives in veterinary CE across North America, and provides a fully accredited, evidence-based CE program called The Social Side of Practice. Dr. Stoewen has published close to 30 articles in veterinary and social work journals and newsmagazines and given over 300 presentations internationally in the areas of veterinary wellness, veterinary-client-patient communication, teamwork, organizational culture, and leadership. She is an academic, entrepreneur, and facilitator, committed to advancing the health and welfare of people and animals at the intersections of industry, academia, and civic society.

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