We’ve noted that our veterinary staff tends to get stressed out and suffer from compassion fatigue. However, what we noted is that compassion fatigue is avoidable and treatable if the people in these fields take excellent care of themselves. Issues like compassion fatigue and burnout are very prevalent and you know when staff members, whether it be a doctor or technician, or front desk staff are experiencing those issues they tend to take it out on each other, or suffer physically and may ultimately quit. So you know it is beneficial from a business standpoint to try to keep employees healthy and to keep them around. It’s a curiosity, sort of, that the people in the caregiving field are really the ones who take better care of others that are themselves. But what research has shown, and what we have seen is that you can only take care of others for so long if you’re not addressing your own needs. Several years ago, we recognized the importance of supporting healthy food choices. We changed from vending machines with highly processed, high-calorie snacks to more of a mini-mart with healthy snack and drink choices to help fuel our people in a healthy way, to help them sustain. Another thing that was implemented was art therapy to help people replenish and de-stress, to hang out together in an environment that’s different than the emergency room floor, to help people create. Creating a wellness program on a budget: Enid and I reached out to our community. We found sponsors, wellness practitioners, I guess you would call it to come in and I was actually very surprised at the response that we got, you know, it wasn’t expecting that people would want to donate their time or their goods, but people you know we help animals and people love animals and so they were actually very excited to donate and I teach yoga weekly. I have a small budget for buying healthy snacks for the staff I have hosted meditation groups and I find people to come in and speak to the staff about different aspects of wellness. Whenever you have a group of people, there are going to be some who jump in with enthusiasm right away and others who maybe are watching for a couple months before buying in and what I recognized is by offering these opportunities, even if everybody isn’t participating, they feel good knowing that they’re offered, and that they have this possibility. Even small steps, you know, can have a great benefit and that when we take time to take care of ourselves we increase our capacity to take care of others. Not only will the staff be happier and stay longer, but the clients and the patients will receive better care as well.