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The role of veterinary team effectiveness in job satisfaction and burnout in companion animal veterinary clinics

Irene C. MooreRidgetown Campus, University of Guelph, Ridgetown, ON N0P 2C0, Canada.

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Jason B. CoeDepartment of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Cindy L. AdamsFaculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada.

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Peter D. ConlonHill's Pet Nutrition Primary Health Care Centre, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Jan M. SargeantDepartment of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the role of veterinary team effectiveness regarding job satisfaction and burnout in companion animal veterinary practice.

Design—Cross-sectional observational study.

Sample—48 companion animal veterinary health-care teams.

Procedures—274 team members participated in an online survey. Overall job satisfaction was evaluated with a 1-item measure, and the 3 dimensions of burnout (exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy) were measured with the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. Team effectiveness was assessed with a survey developed for this study. Demographic and team effectiveness factors (coordinated team environment, toxic team environment, team engagement, and individual engagement) associated with job satisfaction and burnout were evaluated.

Results—Overall mean job satisfaction score was 5.46 of 7 (median, 6.00); veterinary technicians and kennel attendants had the lowest scores. According to the Maslach survey results, 22.4% of participants were in the high-risk category for exhaustion, 23.2% were in the high-risk category for cynicism, and 9.3% were in the high-risk category for professional efficacy. A coordinated team environment was associated with increased professional efficacy and decreased cynicism. A toxic team environment was negatively associated with job satisfaction and positively associated with exhaustion and cynicism. Individual engagement was positively associated with job satisfaction and professional efficacy and negatively associated with exhaustion and cynicism.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested the effectiveness of a veterinary team can significantly influence individual team members’ job satisfaction and burnout. Practices should pay specific attention to the effectiveness with which their veterinary team operates.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the role of veterinary team effectiveness regarding job satisfaction and burnout in companion animal veterinary practice.

Design—Cross-sectional observational study.

Sample—48 companion animal veterinary health-care teams.

Procedures—274 team members participated in an online survey. Overall job satisfaction was evaluated with a 1-item measure, and the 3 dimensions of burnout (exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy) were measured with the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. Team effectiveness was assessed with a survey developed for this study. Demographic and team effectiveness factors (coordinated team environment, toxic team environment, team engagement, and individual engagement) associated with job satisfaction and burnout were evaluated.

Results—Overall mean job satisfaction score was 5.46 of 7 (median, 6.00); veterinary technicians and kennel attendants had the lowest scores. According to the Maslach survey results, 22.4% of participants were in the high-risk category for exhaustion, 23.2% were in the high-risk category for cynicism, and 9.3% were in the high-risk category for professional efficacy. A coordinated team environment was associated with increased professional efficacy and decreased cynicism. A toxic team environment was negatively associated with job satisfaction and positively associated with exhaustion and cynicism. Individual engagement was positively associated with job satisfaction and professional efficacy and negatively associated with exhaustion and cynicism.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested the effectiveness of a veterinary team can significantly influence individual team members’ job satisfaction and burnout. Practices should pay specific attention to the effectiveness with which their veterinary team operates.

Contributor Notes

Supported by Royal Canin Veterinary Diets.

Presented in abstract form at the 17th International Conference on Communication in Health Care, Montreal, September 2013, and the 7th International Conference on Communication in Veterinary Medicine, St Louis, November 2013.

The authors thank William Sears for statistical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Moore (imoore@uoguelph.ca).