FEATURE

Toolkit for “I thought about quitting today…”

There are positive and negative effects from working in a helping profession like education. This toolkit aids educators in the exploration of the fatigue, burnout and even the trauma they may experience when helping students who are suffering.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID NEVALA

The Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) is a self-assessment tool geared toward assessing the positive and negative effects of helping other people who are experiencing or have experienced trauma and suffering. Dr. Beth Hudnall Stamm, a retired professor and researcher in the field of traumatic stress, developed the tool. The ProQOL website offers a number of materials that can be used free of charge in professional development settings.

 

Essential Questions

  1. What is my professional quality of life?
  2. How much “compassion satisfaction” am I experiencing?
  3. How much “compassion fatigue”—burnout and secondary trauma—am I experiencing?
  4. What kinds of self-care do I need in order to be resilient in my work?

 

Procedure

The ProQOL is based on the theory of compassion satisfaction (CS) and compassion fatigue (CF). CS represents the pleasure you derive from helping others, and CF is the negative aspect of helping others who are experiencing trauma and suffering. CF is divided into two subcategories: burnout and secondary trauma.

Use the materials below to explore the CS-CF theory further with your colleagues. What is your professional quality of life? How much compassion fatigue are you experiencing? What kinds of self-care do you need?

  • Download and print copies of the self-scoring version of the ProQOL tool. The tool is available in English and has also been translated into 17 other languages.
  • The Concise ProQOL Manual provides background information and directions on how to administer the scale, interpret scores and use it in decision-making.
  • Customizable presentation slides, handouts and pocket cards are available to help those who will use the ProQOL in professional development and training settings. These materials focus on explaining the terms compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, burnout, secondary trauma and vicarious trauma, and on promoting resiliency and preventing compassion fatigue.