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Veterinary house officer perceptions of dimensions of well-being during postgraduate training

Jourdan B. McPhetridge DVM1, Valery F. Scharf DVM, MS, DACVS1, Rachel Dickson DVM2, Kelley M. Thieman DVM, MS, DACVS3, Michelle L. Oblak DVM, DACVS, DVSc4, Penny J. Regier DVM, MS, DACVS5, Owen T. Skinner BVSc, DACVS6, Selena Tinga DVM, PhD, DACVS7, Katy L. Townsend BVSc, MS, DACVS8, Mandy L. Wallace DVM, MS, DACVS9, Rebecca Walton DVM, DACVECC10, Steven L. Marks BVSc, MS, DACVIM1, and Laura Nelson DVM, MS, DACVS1
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • | 5 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO
  • | 7 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • | 8 Department of Clinical Sciences, Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
  • | 9 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • | 10 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe veterinary house officers’ perceptions of dimensions of well-being during postgraduate training and to identify potential areas for targeted intervention.

SAMPLE

303 house officers.

PROCEDURES

A 62-item questionnaire was generated by use of an online platform and sent to house officers at participating institutions in October 2020. Responses were analyzed for trends and associations between selected variables.

RESULTS

239 residents, 45 rotating interns, and 19 specialty interns responded to the survey. The majority of house officers felt that their training program negatively interfered with their exercise habits, diet, and social engagement. House officers reported engaging in exercise significantly less during times of clinical responsibility, averaging 1.6 exercise sessions/wk (SD ± 0.8) on clinical duty and 2.4 exercise sessions/wk (SD ± 0.9) when not on clinical duty (P < 0.001). Ninety-four percent of respondents reported experiencing some degree of anxiety regarding their physical health, and 95% of house officers reported feeling some degree of anxiety regarding their current financial situation. Overall, 47% reported that their work-life balance was unsustainable for > 1 year; there was no association between specialty and sustainability of work-life balance. Most house officers were satisfied with their current training program, level of clinical responsibility, and mentorship.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Veterinary house officers demonstrated a poor balance between the demands of postgraduate training and maintenance of personal health. Thoughtful interventions are needed to support the well-being of veterinary house officers.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix S1 (PDF 219 KB)

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Scharf (vfscharf@ncsu.edu)