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Paid Attention! Engaging Staff with Psychoeducation on Paid Time

Room A

1 CE Hour

Presented By

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    In-Person, Live Webinar



Animal shelter workers and veterinary medicine staff work long days with busy hours. Currently, staffing shortages at animal shelters and veterinary clinics is adding to the weight and pace of the work and impacting people and the pets in our care. Allowing staff the opportunity to learn and implement skills on caring for themselves on paid time can increase compassion satisfaction and decrease turnover, burnout and compassion fatigue. By inviting staff to engage in paid trainings during work hours organizations can promote a culture of wellness and balance. This presentation will be a review of the current program “Second Growth” offered at the Oregon Humane Society, including sample topics and presentations, feedback from staff and executive leadership on the program, cost analysis and funding sources.


According to the 2021 Best Friends Animal Society survey on staffing shortages, staffing was down for 87% of all organizations that responded (187) with the most cited reason (71%) for the staffing shortage for organizations being “Unable to recruit, hire, and maintain staffing levels”. The work is rewarding and hard. Shelter workers face occupational stress outside of euthanasia that include “negative public perception, lack of understanding among family and friends and conflict among colleagues”. (Figley & Roop, 2006)
In veterinary medicine, Merck Animal Health’s yearly Veterinarian Wellbeing Study reported that “Among respondents who reported distress in 2021, only one-third (33%) indicated that they had healthy methods for dealing with stress” and “serious psychological distress is more common in veterinarians who work excessive hours, compared to non-distressed veterinarians who reported spending more time on healthy, non-work activities, such as socializing with family and friends or participating in hobbies and activities.” The most recent survey published this year, indicates veterinary medicine is moving in the right direction and there was an increase in the percentage of veterinarians with serious psychological distress since 2019, and on average, a higher percentage of clinic staff suffer from serious psychological distress than veterinarians. When the survey asked what is an important thing employers can do to help, respondents answered “provides sufficient time to provide high-quality care and acknowledge the existence of mental health and wellbeing issues in the profession and provide appropriate support”.


Keeping people happy and healthy in the career they choose can incorporate wellness and wellbeing on paid time moving our culture towards health.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • After participating in this session, participants should be able to identify benefits to psychoeducational opportunities on paid time for animal shelter workers and veterinary medicine teams.

  • After participating in this session, participants should be able to budget for paid time trainings by accessing current listings for grants and the reviewing the models demonstrated during training.

  • After participating in this session, participants should be able to implement access to psychoeducational trainings for staff on paid time.

CE Policy
This course is fiscally sponsored by International Association of Veterinary Social Work . There may be potential biases or conflicts of interest inherent to this relationship, and it must be disclosed to participants. These conflicts of interest have no bearing on the course content and have been resolved.
Kelly Brekmen
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