Film Review: Portraits of Professional Caregivers


  • Jennifer C. Meehan Wichita State University


Caregivers, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, self-care


The documentary film Portraits of Professional Caregivers is comprised of many meaningful
narratives of child welfare workers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, social workers,
psychologists, hospice staff, nurses, and doctors. Their stories reveal how helping professionals,
while assisting clients or patients, may witness traumatic events, or be exposed to aversive
details of a traumatic event, and as a result, they may be profoundly affected. Empathy is a
characteristic that allows a caregiver to be attuned to their clients and their situations, and
this compassion and understanding may increase a professional’s risk of developing secondary
traumatic stress, burnout, or compassion fatigue. In addition to the documentary’s heartfelt
narratives, new and inspiring ideas about self-care, coping, safety plans, and supportive
organizational structures are outlined that are designed to promote and sustain the health and
well-being of caregivers.

Author Biography

  • Jennifer C. Meehan, Wichita State University

    Jennifer Meehan is a Master of Social Work student attending Delaware State University, where she
    is employed as a graduate assistant. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Family and Community
    Services from the University of Delaware. Jennifer has over ten years of experience working with
    various populations in
    the mental health field. She is married with two children.






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