HEARTcare is purposely investigating and implementing supports and resources available to educational workers.

Heartwork is the act of investing one’s personal time, identity, energy, and passion into a job, which can be both sustaining and keep a person motivated, or draining and de-motivating if the work is not noticed, appreciated, or if the sufficient time for rest is not taken.

The original Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, and Emotional Labour study reports can be found under Phase One, Phase Two, and Phase Three Executive Summary. The open-access, peer-reviewed study can be found under Common Grounds publishing.


Create a HEARTcare plan by starting from understanding how you respond to occupational stress and distress, then find ways to identify crisis and trauma work, and investigate available interventions to restore or maintain your emotional and mental health.


Listen to this podcast with the principal researcher from the compassion fatigue study for more information about the research study and context for Heartcare planning.

Compassion Fatigue, Emotional Labour and Educator Burnout


Trauma work involves working with children, youth, or other adults who disclose a traumatic event to you. Traumatic events are highly charged experiences that trigger an intense response from the student or your colleague.

 I feel empowered by my role at my school. I have learned so much about the impact of trauma and historical events on families and children, and I am in a position to do something to help. Sometimes progress is slow and events in the world or politics get in the way, leading to some frustration, but overall, I feel deeply that I am supporting my families and school community in a way that effects us all positively.

Survey Open-ended Response

Crisis work involves working with children or youth during a traumatic event, like a fire, flood, or another natural disaster. It can also refer to working with a student who is behaving violently towards themselves or others.

Oh, goodness. I had a colleague who was in a terrible head-on collision with her bus, and that was pretty bad. Two people were killed in the other vehicle, and she was in a bus full of students. Pretty hard to see her go through that, you know. That could happen to anybody.

Research Study Participant

Ahh, that’s where HEART comes from…
  1. School interventions are meant to create a positive, supportive workplace for students and staff alike.
  2. System interventions are policies that prioritize and resource student and employee wellness.
  3. Professional interventions involve accessing expert assistance to improve employee wellbeing
  4. Individual interventions require understanding and prioritizing self-care as related to occupational health.
  5. Educational worker interventions acknowledge the unique crisis and trauma work provided in school or learning environments.

Funding for the Compassion Fatigue, Emotional Labour, and Burnout Study was provided by the Alberta Teachers Association and the Alberta School Employee Benefits Plan.

Photo by Lisa Everitt
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