Today’s animal welfare and veterinary medical professionals are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for animals, people, and the organizations that heal, connect, and protect them. If that’s you, it’s easy to feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. The work feels never-ending. Taking care of your own needs might seem impossible.
Transforming empathic distress (aka compassion fatigue) is absolutely possible for you and your staff. That’s why the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida is once again offering its Compassion Fatigue Strategies online course with certified compassion fatigue educator Jessica Dolce.
This course will help you recognize signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue, burnout, and vicarious trauma, learn how to reduce stress injury, increase your self-care and team-care practices, build compassion satisfaction, restore resiliency, and make successful changes in your life and in your organization.
“This is a chance to get 8 weeks of support and to learn new approaches to coping with stress, so you can keep doing the work you’re passionate about, without causing harm to yourself in the process. My hope is that the people who take this course will leave feeling like they’re not in this alone, that they have practical resources and choices to help them navigate ongoing challenges, and a sense of realistic optimism about the future.”
— Jessica Dolce, certified compassion fatigue educator
You’ll dive in deep to understand what Compassion Fatigue (aka empathic strain) is and what the symptoms are in individuals and in organizations. You’ll get familiar with your own experiences, what factors contribute to CF, and assess your current levels of CF and burnout. And we’ll look at other workplace stressors: grief, ethical distress, working conditions, personal circumstances, trauma, and burnout.
This module is dedicated to understanding stress and self-care. You’ll work to create a personalized system to help you monitor and manage your daily stress levels. Next you’ll jump in to the importance of self-care and map out a variety of practices that can be used on the job and at home.
This module is dedicated to connecting to the rewards of our work and shifting your perspective to a more (realistically) positive outlook in order to increase your Compassion Satisfaction. You’ll focus on resilience building techniques, including self-compassion and mindfulness practices, which will help you bounce back from the inevitable stress of your work.
In the final module, you’ll be working on setting doable goals, collaboration with your team/supporting your staff, and crafting a personal mission statement (and an organizational mission statement) to help keep you motivated as you take your new skills into the future! Leaders will learn about vicarious trauma-informed organizations and how to reduce burnout.
By the end of class you’ll have a variety of practical strategies to help you manage and transform your experience with compassion fatigue and reduce overall stress. You’ll have a better understanding of yourself and how to engage in self-care that works for you, as well as how to support your staff using vicarious-trauma informed approaches, so that you can be well, while you continue to do good work!
The course begins February 6, 2023 and runs through April 2, 2023. Students typically spend an average of 2 hours per week (15-20 minutes a day) moving through the 4 learning modules of this course. This equates to about 1 module every 2 weeks, for a total of 8 weeks.
Designed for busy professionals, this online course is available 24/7 and self-paced for the flexibility you need. You’ll have access to all of the class materials on day one and then you can do the work at your own speed.
Students will also get together for 4 live calls to practice stress reduction and mindfulness techniques – this is like 4 hours of self-care, built right into the class. Plus, we talk about what we’re learning and experiencing on the discussion boards – so there’s daily support from Jessica! The live calls will be on Tuesday evenings (2/16/23, 3/2/23, 3/16/23, and 3/30/23) at 8 pm ET. Calls will be recorded and shared for those unable to attend the live sessions.
The only thing you need for this course is a computer or mobile device and an internet connection. No text books or other materials are required. The course is delivered entirely online through UF’s e-Learning platform (Canvas)
Registration for this course is completed via the University of Florida’s Distance Learning department using the “Quick Registration” platform. Early Registration Fee: $200 through 12/31/22. Regular Registration Fee: $299 beginning 1/1/23. This course has a limited enrollment class size and may be filled prior to the course start date.
This course is eligible for 15 credits of continuing professional education for veterinarians in Florida. Veterinarians from other states should contact their licensing board for guidance. The course has been approved for 15 hours of continuing professional education by Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA), and National Animal Control Association (NACA). Participants may download a Certificate of Completion after completing all course requirements.
Jessica Dolce is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator via the Green Cross of Traumatology, receiving her training through The Figley Institute and Tend Academy. She brings twenty years of experience working with and for companion animals to her signature online training platform for animal welfare professionals The Compassion in Balance Program.
Jessica is an adjunct faculty member at Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida and has worked with organizations such as the ASPCA, HSUS, Animals Asia, Best Friends Animal Society, and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
She holds a Master of Science in Adult and Higher Education degree, is certified in Mental Health First Aid, and has earned certificates in mindfulness facilitation, trauma-informed organizations, and positive psychology coaching. She can be found online at jessicadolce.com