“In addition to the mechanism of mirror neurons, they have discovered in the last 10 years the presence of alarm pheromones – where we signal danger to each other. We say, “You can smell fear.” So if we are in fight/flight, what is that pinging to our clients? And this will sometimes get people, “Wow, if I don’t take care of myself, I could actually be harming those people who are entrusted to my care.”

– Nkem Ndefo

On Tuesday, March 21 2017, Nkem Ndefo presented on a panel at Wellness for Professionals: Taking Care While Giving Care.

At this event, the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work presented a screening of the film Portraits of Professional CAREgivers, Their Passion, Their Pain. Following the screening, the panel discussed compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and how professionals and organizations can begin to prioritize self-care for better outcomes for both caregivers and their clients.

Nkem strongly advocated for organizations making wellness programs mandatory, citing that caregivers typically struggle to voluntarily designate time towards self-care, due to being focused on the needs of others. You can see Nkem’s comments and the panel in its entirety below.


Moderator: Fidel Rodriguez, Human Relations Consultant and Violence Prevention Specialist, LA County Human Relations Commission

Panel:

Elizabeth Eastlund, LCSW – Executive Director, Rainbow Services

Nkem Ndefo, MSN, RN, CNM – Founder of TRE Los Angeles

Michael St. Denis, J.D., MSW Candidate, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Mara Ziegler, MSW, LCSW – Adjunct Professor and Field Instructor, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Watch Nkem at 20:00, 36:12, and 50:25.

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