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Evaluation of team effectiveness and personal empathy for associations with professional quality of life and job satisfaction in companion animal practice personnel

Christina N. Pizzolon1Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

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Jason B. Coe1Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

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Jane R. Shaw2Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To examine variables of veterinary team effectiveness and personal empathy for associations with professional quality of life (ie, compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress) and job satisfaction in companion animal practice personnel.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE

Data from 232 surveys completed by personnel from 10 companion animal veterinary practices in 2 regions of the United States between April 7 and December 20, 2016.

PROCEDURES

Online surveys were used to collect practice-level data (eg, practice type, setting, and staffing) and individual-level data (eg, demographics, job position, and years in the position and profession). Instruments used in developing the surveys included the Team Effectiveness Instrument, Davis Interpersonal Reactivity Index, Professional Quality of Life Scale, and a measure for job satisfaction. Data were evaluated for associations with professional quality of life and job satisfaction.

RESULTS

Individual engagement was positively associated with job satisfaction, negatively associated with secondary traumatic stress, and moderated by levels of personal distress for compassion satisfaction and burnout. Toxic team environment was positively associated with burnout and negatively associated with job satisfaction. Empathetic concern and personal distress were both positively associated with secondary traumatic stress. Empathetic concern was moderated by team engagement for compassion satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINCAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that variables influencing professional quality of life and job satisfaction were multimodal and included aspects of team effectiveness and empathy; therefore, workplace strategies that enhance individual and team engagement and mitigate toxic team environments could potentially improve professional quality of life and job satisfaction in veterinary personnel.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To examine variables of veterinary team effectiveness and personal empathy for associations with professional quality of life (ie, compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress) and job satisfaction in companion animal practice personnel.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE

Data from 232 surveys completed by personnel from 10 companion animal veterinary practices in 2 regions of the United States between April 7 and December 20, 2016.

PROCEDURES

Online surveys were used to collect practice-level data (eg, practice type, setting, and staffing) and individual-level data (eg, demographics, job position, and years in the position and profession). Instruments used in developing the surveys included the Team Effectiveness Instrument, Davis Interpersonal Reactivity Index, Professional Quality of Life Scale, and a measure for job satisfaction. Data were evaluated for associations with professional quality of life and job satisfaction.

RESULTS

Individual engagement was positively associated with job satisfaction, negatively associated with secondary traumatic stress, and moderated by levels of personal distress for compassion satisfaction and burnout. Toxic team environment was positively associated with burnout and negatively associated with job satisfaction. Empathetic concern and personal distress were both positively associated with secondary traumatic stress. Empathetic concern was moderated by team engagement for compassion satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINCAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that variables influencing professional quality of life and job satisfaction were multimodal and included aspects of team effectiveness and empathy; therefore, workplace strategies that enhance individual and team engagement and mitigate toxic team environments could potentially improve professional quality of life and job satisfaction in veterinary personnel.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Ms. Pizzolon (cnpizzolon@gmail.com).