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Veterinarian satisfaction with companion animal visits

Jane R. Shaw DVM, PhD1, Cindy L. Adams MSW, PhD2, Brenda N. Bonnett DVM, PhD3, Susan Larson MS4, and Debra L. Roter DrPH5
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  • 1 Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
  • | 2 Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
  • | 3 Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
  • | 4 Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205
  • | 5 Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205

Abstract

Objective—To measure veterinarian satisfaction with companion animal visits through an adaptation of a previously validated physician visit satisfaction scale and to identify demographic, personality, appointment, and communication factors that contribute to veterinarian visit satisfaction.

Design—Cross-sectional descriptive study.

Sample—Random sample of 50 companion animal practitioners in southern Ontario, Canada, and convenience sample of 300 clients and their pets.

Procedures—For each practitioner, 6 clinical appointments were videotaped, and the resulting 300 videotapes were analyzed by use of the Roter interaction analysis system. The physician satisfaction scale, Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and interpersonal reactivity index were used to measure veterinarian visit satisfaction, self-esteem, and empathy, respectively. Linear regression analysis was conducted to study the relationship between factors and veterinarian visit satisfaction.

Results—Veterinarian visit satisfaction ranged from 1 to 5 (mean ± SD, 3.97 ± 0.99) and differed significantly between wellness appointments (mean scale score, 4.13) and problem appointments (mean scale score, 3.81). Various elements of client and veterinarian communication as well as personality measures of veterinarian self-esteem and empathy were associated with veterinarian satisfaction. The specific factors differed depending on the nature of the appointment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that veterinarian visit–specific satisfaction is enhanced through the use of communication that builds relationships with clients and is associated with degrees of veterinarian empathetic concern and veterinarian self-esteem. The implications extend to overall job satisfaction and its potential link to the health and well-being of individual veterinarians.

Abstract

Objective—To measure veterinarian satisfaction with companion animal visits through an adaptation of a previously validated physician visit satisfaction scale and to identify demographic, personality, appointment, and communication factors that contribute to veterinarian visit satisfaction.

Design—Cross-sectional descriptive study.

Sample—Random sample of 50 companion animal practitioners in southern Ontario, Canada, and convenience sample of 300 clients and their pets.

Procedures—For each practitioner, 6 clinical appointments were videotaped, and the resulting 300 videotapes were analyzed by use of the Roter interaction analysis system. The physician satisfaction scale, Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and interpersonal reactivity index were used to measure veterinarian visit satisfaction, self-esteem, and empathy, respectively. Linear regression analysis was conducted to study the relationship between factors and veterinarian visit satisfaction.

Results—Veterinarian visit satisfaction ranged from 1 to 5 (mean ± SD, 3.97 ± 0.99) and differed significantly between wellness appointments (mean scale score, 4.13) and problem appointments (mean scale score, 3.81). Various elements of client and veterinarian communication as well as personality measures of veterinarian self-esteem and empathy were associated with veterinarian satisfaction. The specific factors differed depending on the nature of the appointment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that veterinarian visit–specific satisfaction is enhanced through the use of communication that builds relationships with clients and is associated with degrees of veterinarian empathetic concern and veterinarian self-esteem. The implications extend to overall job satisfaction and its potential link to the health and well-being of individual veterinarians.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Shaw's present address is Argus Institute, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80525.

Dr. Adams' present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada.

Supported by grants from Novartis Animal Health and the Ontario Veterinary College Pet Trust Fund.

Presented in abstract form at the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare, Warwickshire, Warwick, England, September 2002.

The authors thank Anne Valliant for survey data entry, Jennifer Bedford for video technology assistance, and William Sears and Mollie Campbell for statistical support.

Address correspondence to Dr. Shaw (jane.shaw@colostate.edu).