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Compassion Fatigue Strategies, Plus! @ UFL


The next session of CFS starts February 26th, 2024 

Early bird pricing: $299 until January 26th!

Afterwards regular course fee is $349

Bring the whole team for a 10% discount on groups of 10 or more!  



Since 2015 I’ve been honored to teach Compassion Fatigue Strategies via The University of Florida’s Shelter Medicine Program. This unique four module, online, self-paced class is specifically for people who work with animals.

Compassion Fatigue Strategies is 100% online and you can take it at your pace. You’ll have access to all of the class materials on day one and then you can do the work at your own speed.

We also get together for 4 live calls to practice stress reduction and mindfulness techniques – this is like four 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 me! 

Sign Up on the UFL Website!

“I really appreciated this course and learned a lot of new ways in which to help myself navigate some of the more difficult aspects of my job….I feel like I am back in control of my work life and it’s easier now to remember why I do what I do and focus on the good parts…I feel so much more well-equipped to handle the emotional roller coaster now that I’ve taken your course.”

– Amber Lea, Stranding Biologist, 2022 CFS alum

Class Overview:

Module 1: Understanding Empathic Strain aka Compassion Fatigue and Workplace Stressors

You’ll dive in deep to understand what Empathic Strain is and what the symptoms are in individuals and in organizations. We’ll look at other sources of stress and distress at home and work and their possible outcomes. Topics include grief, ethical distress, working conditions, personal circumstances, trauma, and burnout. You’ll get familiar with your own experiences, contributing factors, and assess your current levels of secondary traumatic stress and burnout.

Module 2: Managing Stress and Increasing Self‐Care

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 fluctuating stress levels in order to reduce reactivity and the risk of stress injury. Next you’ll explore self-care, healthy boundaries, and map out a variety of simple practices that can be used on the job and at home.

Module 3: Building Compassion Satisfaction and Resiliency

This module is dedicated to connecting to the rewards of our work and shifting your perspective to a realistically optimistic outlook in order to increase your Compassion Satisfaction and sustain your energy to do this challenging work. You’ll focus on resilience building techniques, including self-compassion and mindfulness practices, which will help you cope with and recover from the inevitable stress of your work.

Module 4: Taking Action and Committing to Change

In the final module, you’ll be working on creating simple habits to support your wellbeing, learn ways to collaborate with your team and support your staff, and draft a personal mission statement (or an organizational mission statement) to help you see clearly as you take your new skills into the future! Leaders will learn about vicarious trauma-informed organizations and how to reduce burnout by addressing working conditions. 

You can view course details and sign up here.

And here’s a nice article about the course experience.

This class helped me understand that it is not a sign of failure or weakness to stop, say no, and care for yourself, to realize that just stopping and taking a deep breath can help.

Dr. R, veterinarian, 2015 CFS alum

Students can earn CEUs too!

This course has been pre-approved for CEUs by The National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) and for Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits via The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (Formerly SAWA).

This course has also been approved for 15 contact hours for veterinary continuing education in the state of Florida. Students taking the course from other states will need to contact their licensing board for guidance.

By the End of Class You’ll:

  • Have multiple evidence-based strategies to help you do the work you love, reducing empathic strain and burnout, so that you can feel more energized and satisfied.
  • Know which specific self-care and stress management practices work best for you at work and at home
  • Develop a personal mission statement so that you have clarity about why you do this work even when it’s challenging
  • Understand how to build small, sustainable habits so that you can make lasting changes in the areas of your life that need attention, like sleep, friendships, and social media.
  • Experiment with simple mindfulness, self-compassion, and grounding practices, to help you feel more calm and clear
  • Understand how and when to get professional mental health help, without shame
  • Know how to collaborate with your staff and coworkers on these issues so that you can all benefit from what you learned in the course
I'm In!

What People Are Saying:

“Jessica Dolce’s compassion fatigue course couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. My job as a private veterinary practitioner had left me burnt out. I had recently accepted my dream job as a shelter veterinarian, and I wanted to prepare myself to enjoy this job through retirement.

Jessica’s course had everything I needed: well-organized and informative educational lessons, phone calls that guided me through meditation and relaxation practices to use in my daily life, and online interaction with other animal welfare workers who faced the same struggles and setbacks I did.

I came away from Jessica’s course with a better understanding of what compassion fatigue looks like in different situations. I can now help my colleagues identify and counteract the emotional spiral that can overtake us in times of crisis. I’ve been given valuable tools to use when I’m struggling with my own emotions in this difficult field. Above all, I feel I have a network of like-minded individuals who know how to help.

During the semester, Jessica’s interaction with her students was above and beyond. She was always ready to offer a pertinent reading or online resource. She has a deep love for poetry, giving us yet another way to express and reflect on our emotions. And her suggestions for looking at a situation from an alternate perspective were always spot-on.

I’m so glad I found this course. I have recommend it to everyone in my organization, knowing that all shelter workers, from kennel staff to adoption counselors, are at risk for compassion fatigue. It’s a course that should be required of all veterinarians, veterinary nurses, and shelter administrators.”

– Jessica Snyder DVM, 2017 CFS alum

Here’s what a CFS alum shared on Facebook about her experience with the course in 2016:

“I just finished this course. It was very eye opening and worth every cent.

I highly recommend it to anyone in the animal welfare industry.”

“I’m not the kind of person to readily discuss my feelings. I’m the kind of person who loves my job and wants to get my work done and do it well. I’ve gotten to the point in my career that I know this is an industry where I could work myself past the point of no return, whether that be burning out or leaving animal welfare entirely. But I came to this work because I love it. I just needed to figure out how to do it sustainably.

Jessica Dolce’s CFS class was recommended to me by a friend in the field and has been a great source of information, discussion, and the feeling you get when you realize you’re not alone. The work we do is insurmountable. It’s never ending. Sometimes it’s thankless. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why we started doing it in the first place. This course is approachable and self-paced. I am a terrible procrastinator, but I got it done and I’m glad I did.”

– Shelter Medicine Veterinary Assistant, 2017 CFS alum

Here’s What You’ll Get:

  • The 6 Question Process (you’ll learn six strategies that research has shown reduces and transforms compassion fatigue-related stress)
  • All lessons available on day one, 100% online, learn at your own pace
  • Four Modules with videos, integration activities, & readings
  • Daily support and community on discussion boards
  • Four live calls with Jessica Dolce, including a session on Stress First Aid skills
  • One recorded call with Ellen Dolce, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • 15 Continuing Education Credits

Ready to change your life?