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Poster presented at International Conference of Physician Health in Boston Massachusetts.

Supplementary handout with definitions and extensive bibliography available at bottom of page.

Film is basis for poster: Portraits of Professional Caregivers-Their Passion. Their Pain (click on picture to view movie trailer)

Quotes about movie from IMDB

Learning objectives

1. Become more aware of what secondary trauma is and its prevalence in health care professionals

2. Recognize the importance of personal wellness and intentional self-care by physicians and other allied professionals

3. Encourage the development of medical systems in the formation of effective peer support structures


The documentary filmmaker, Vic Compher, a former administrator, supervisor and social worker in the Department of Human Services in Philadelphia, realized the presence of secondary trauma in professionals who rescue, assist and/or treat injured, traumatized or physically ill patients. His film, “Portraits of Professional Caregivers – Their Passion, Their Pain,” contains narrative interviews with a broad spectrum of professional empathetic caregivers who describe the stressful effects of their work and how those stresses affect them emotionally and functionally. The purpose of these stories is to promote awareness of secondary trauma/compassion fatigue and how it can be toxic and lead to burnout, promote provider self-care and emphasize the need for an organizational structure that provides support and healing for the medical staff.


Our poster will provide a colorful chart with the statistics of physician burnout and a display of the statistics of secondary trauma in allied professions. The poster will also include definitions of secondary trauma/compassion fatigue, burnout and compassion satisfaction. There will be dramatic still shots from the film depicting professional narratives, self-care in action and group peer debriefing/support sessions. Handouts will include a bibliography of current research, definitions and symptoms of secondary trauma and burnout, illustrations of compassion satisfaction, and examples of organizational structures that provide emotional support and healing for medical staff.


Secondary trauma is prevalent among a wide variety of professional caregivers and can lead to poor performance, dissatisfaction with work and burnout. Provider self-care and institutional support of the caregiver are crucial for promoting compassion satisfaction and resiliency.


Secondary trauma is a recognized occupational hazard of professional caregivers but can be countered by self-awareness, self-care and institutional support.

Publication Date



Who Helps Our Helpers, Rediscovering Joy in Medicine by Addressing Secondary Trauma, poster, International Conference of Physician Health. medicine


Medicine and Health Sciences

Who Helps Our Helpers?  Rediscovering Joy in Medicine by Addressing Secondary Trauma