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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize objective and subjective elements of the personal lives of American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS) diplomates and identify elements of personal life associated with professional life or career success.

SAMPLE

836 ACVS diplomates.

PROCEDURES

An 81-item questionnaire was sent to 1,450 diplomates in 2015 via email and conducted by means of an online platform. Responses were analyzed to summarize trends and identify associations among selected variables.

RESULTS

Men were more likely than women to be married or in a domestic partnership (88% vs 68%, respectively) and to have children (77% vs 47%). Among women but not men, respondents in large animal practice were less likely than were those in small animal practice to be represented in these categories. Women had children later in their career than did men and indicated that their stage of training played an important role in family planning. Respondents with children worked significantly fewer hours than did those without children, with a greater reduction in hours for women versus men (6.0 vs 3.1 hours, respectively). Women were more likely to require external childcare services than were men. Women were more likely to report that having children had negatively impacted their professional lives. No negative associations between measures of professional success (eg, advancement or personal income) and parenthood were identified.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Family demographics differed between male and female ACVS diplomates, yet no objective impact on career success was identified. Work-life balance may play an important role in recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction of veterinary surgeons.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate outcomes associated with an experiential leadership program (the Veterinary Leadership Experience [VLE]) among participants 1 year after program completion.

SAMPLE

157 veterinary students and 61 veterinary professionals who participated in the 2015 or 2016 VLE.

PROCEDURES

Participants completed various instruments to assess emotional intelligence, psychological flexibility, resilience, and client-communication skills prior to (pretest) and 1 year after (posttest) attending the VLE; pretest and posttest findings were compared for all but client-communication skills, for which only posttest responses were analyzed. An additional posttest instrument assessed the impact that the VLE had on key knowledge areas (ie, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relational competence, communication skills, and conflict management skills) and overall impact.

RESULTS

1 year after completing the VLE, participants reported that the program had a high impact on all key knowledge areas; the impact on social awareness and overall impact was significantly higher for veterinary students than for veterinary professionals. Veterinary professionals reported a greater increase in emotional intelligence after program completion than did veterinary students. For each assessed client-communication skill, the percentage of veterinary professionals who reported increased confidence in that skill after program completion was lower than the corresponding percentage of veterinary students. Resilience and psychological flexibility scores did not increase after program completion.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Assessment of the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of experiential leadership programs is important to understanding whether such programs are having the intended effect. Veterinary students and veterinary professionals who were assessed 1 year after completing the VLE reported improvements in leadership skills foundational to the program.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe how North American veterinary medical teaching institutions (VMTIs) provide communication skills training to students.

SAMPLE

Faculty coordinators of communication skills training programs (CSTPs) at 30 North American VMTIs.

PROCEDURES

An online survey instrument was designed and administered to each respondent followed by a telephone (n = 28) or in-person (2) interview. The survey and interview process were designed to evaluate all aspects of CSTPs, such as communication framework used, program format, number of student-contact hours, staffing models, outcome assessment, faculty background, program priorities, and challenges. Descriptive results were generated, and guidelines for future development of CSTPs were recommended.

RESULTS

27 US and 3 Canadian VMTIs were represented, and communication skills training was required at all. Twenty-five CSTPs used the Calgary-Cambridge Guide framework. Respondents provided a mean of 33 student-contact hours of training, primarily in the first 3 years of the veterinary curriculum in lecture (mean, 12 hours), communication laboratory (13 hours), and self-study (8 hours) formats with formative feedback. Communication skills training was integrated with other disciplines at 27 VMTIs. Most CSTPs were coordinated and taught by 1 faculty member with a < 0.50 full-time equivalent commitment and no administrative support. Stated priorities included acquisition of resources for CSTP faculty, administrative support, and video-equipped facilities; increasing integration of CSTPs into curricula; and assessment of educational outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that support for CSTPs and recognition of their value continue to grow, but a lack of resources, faculty expertise, validated methods for outcomes assessment, and leadership remain challenges.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To analyze data for death of veterinary professionals and veterinary students, with manner of death characterized as suicide or undetermined intent from 2003 through 2014.

SAMPLE

Death records for 202 veterinary professionals and veterinary students.

PROCEDURES

Decedents employed as veterinarians, veterinary technicians or technologists, or veterinary assistants or laboratory animal caretakers and veterinary students who died by suicide or of undetermined intent were identified through retrospective review of National Violent Death Reporting System records. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated, and mechanisms and circumstances of death were compared among veterinary occupational groups.

RESULTS

197 veterinary professionals and 5 veterinary students had deaths by suicide or of undetermined intent. Among decedents employed at the time of death, SMRs for suicide of male and female veterinarians (1.6 and 2.4, respectively) and male and female veterinary technicians or technologists (5.0 and 2.3, respectively) were significantly greater than those for the general US population, whereas SMRs for suicide of male and female veterinary assistants or laboratory animal caretakers were not. Poisoning was the most common mechanism of death among veterinarians; the drug most commonly used was pentobarbital. For most (13/18) veterinarians who died of pentobarbital poisoning, the death-related injury occurred at home. When decedents with pentobarbital poisoning were excluded from analyses, SMRs for suicide of male and female veterinarians, but not veterinary technicians or technologists, did not differ significantly from results for the general population.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested higher SMRs for suicide among veterinarians might be attributable to pentobarbital access. Improving administrative controls for pentobarbital might be a promising suicide prevention strategy among veterinarians; however, different strategies are likely needed for veterinary technicians or technologists.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine whether the position or elevation of charcoal air-filtration canisters would impact efficacy of waste anesthetic gas (WAG) scavenging.

DESIGN Randomized experiment.

SAMPLE 2 types of bottom-vented and 1 type of top-vented charcoal air-filtration canisters (n = 8 of each canister type/evaluation session).

PROCEDURES Canisters were evaluated in a vertical or horizontal position at both low and high isoflurane gas flow rates in a modified Bain nonrebreathing circuit. Waste anesthetic gas concentrations were measured 2.54 cm from canister exhaust ports with an ambient air analyzer every 30 seconds for a maximum of 15 min/experimental condition. One type of bottom-vented canister was tested in a vertical position elevated above or suspended below the vaporizer at a high isoflurane flow rate and then a standard maintenance flow rate.

RESULTS Position had no significant effect on WAG emission by any canister type at low isoflurane flow rates. Horizontally positioned bottom-vented canisters at the high isoflurane flow rate emitted significantly more WAG than vertically positioned canisters. Horizontally positioned top-vented canisters at high flow rates emitted significantly more WAG than vertically positioned canisters at the final 15-minute time point only. Cannister types differed significantly in intercanister variability. Canister elevation relative to the vaporizer had no impact on WAG scavenging efficacy.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings suggested that charcoal air-filtration canisters should be used in a vertical position when anesthetizing animals with the anesthetic delivery system used in this study.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To explore associations between demographic, occupational, and mental health characteristics and negative attitudes toward mental illness among veterinarians.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE

9,522 veterinarians employed in the United States.

PROCEDURES

Data from a previously conducted voluntary, anonymous, web-based survey were used. Negative attitude was defined as slight or strong disagreement with 2 statements: “Treatment can help people with mental illness lead normal lives” (treatment effectiveness) and “People are generally caring and sympathetic to people with mental illness” (social support). Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify variables associated with negative attitudes.

RESULTS

Of the 9,522 respondents, 6,585 (69.2%) were female, 4,523 (47.5%) were 40 to 59 years old, 291 (3.1%) had a negative attitude toward treatment effectiveness, and 4,504 (47.3%) had a negative attitude toward social support. After adjusting for other variables, negative attitude toward treatment effectiveness was significantly more likely in males, those with 10 to 19 (vs 1 to 9) years of practice experience, solo practitioners, those in government (vs “other”) practice, those with evidence of serious psychological distress, and those reporting suicidal ideation after veterinary school and significantly less likely in those receiving mental health treatment. A negative attitude toward social support was significantly less likely in males and significantly more likely in 40 to 59 (vs 20 to 39) year olds, childless respondents, solo practitioners, those without membership in a veterinary association, those with evidence of serious psychological distress, those reporting depression during or after veterinary school, and those reporting suicidal ideation after veterinary school.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Characteristics such as age, sex, practice setting, and mental illness history might be useful to consider when targeting interventions to support and educate veterinarians about mental illness.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify demographic and urban environmental variables associated with prevalence rates of dog bites per zip code in Detroit.

DESIGN

Retrospective ecological study.

SAMPLE

6,540 people who visited any 1 of 15 hospital emergency rooms in the 29 zip codes in Detroit between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2013, with a primary complaint of dog bite.

PROCEDURES

The number of dog bites over the study period was determined per zip code. Data for the human population in each zip code in 2011 and demographic and urban environmental variables were obtained from federal, state, and municipal databases. The prevalence rate of dog bites in each zip code was calculated, and regression analysis was used to identify variables associated with this outcome.

RESULTS

Results of multivariate analysis indicated that demographic variables (eg, gender, age, and education) accounted for 23.2% (adjusted R 2 = 0.232) of the variation in prevalence rates of dog bites per zip code, whereas urban environmental variables (eg, blight, crime with weapons, and vacancy rate) accounted for 51.6% (adjusted R 2 = 0.516) of the variation.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings suggested that demographic variables had poor association with variation in prevalence rates of dog bites per zip code, whereas urban environmental variables, particularly crime, vacancy rate, and blight, were better associated. Thus, public health and education policies need to address these urban environmental issues to lower the prevalence of dog bites in distressed urban areas.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To explore owners’ knowledge of and experiences with antimicrobial treatment of their pets and their perceptions of veterinarian-led antimicrobial stewardship initiatives.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE 25 pet owners visiting 1 of 3 clinic types (tertiary care, general practice, or low cost) in the greater Philadelphia area.

PROCEDURES Semistructured interviews were conducted with pet owners to gather responses related to the study objectives. Responses were transcribed and analyzed by means of conventional content analysis.

RESULTS Although participants were mostly unfamiliar with the mechanisms of antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance, they generally understood what constituted the inappropriate use of antimicrobials. Few pet owners appeared concerned about the risk of antimicrobial resistance, and no owners were concerned that antimicrobials used for people were also used for pets. Overall, pet owners reported closely following veterinarians’ directions when administering antimicrobials at home, and the main reasons for not following directions included difficulty administering the medication and concern about overmedicating the pet. Most (21/25 [84%]) pet owners expressed trust in their veterinarian to meet their pets’ medical needs and prescribe antimicrobials appropriately. However, in situations when it was unclear whether antimicrobials would be effective, most owners nevertheless wanted their pet to receive them. Initiatives to promote the judicious use of antimicrobials, such as microbial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing and formal stewardship programs, were generally well received and appreciated by owners.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Considerable opportunity was identified to leverage the trust that exists between veterinarians and pet owners to promote the judicious use of antimicrobials for pets.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To compare symptoms of compromised behavioral health (BH symptoms) and factors protecting against those symptoms (protective factors) in military veterinary and nonveterinary health-care personnel deployed to Afghanistan.

DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.

SAMPLE 237 deployed military health-care personnel (21 veterinary and 216 nonveterinary).

PROCEDURES Surveys were administered to participants during combat deployment in Afghanistan in 2013 to collect information on BH symptoms and protective factors. Data were compared between veterinary and nonveterinary health-care personnel by use of regression models controlling for demographic characteristics and deployment experiences. Partial correlations were computed to assess relationships between protective factors and BH symptoms, controlling for personnel type.

RESULTS Less than 15% of veterinary and nonveterinary health-care personnel were at risk for suicidal ideation, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. After adjusting for covariates, both personnel types had similar levels of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety symptoms; however, veterinary personnel reported more distressing secondary traumatic stress symptoms and a greater number of anger reactions. Self-care, team support, and perceived supportive leadership were inversely associated with BH symptoms regardless of personnel type. Veterinary personnel engaged in less self-care, provided less team care, and rated leadership behaviors less positively than nonveterinary health-care personnel.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Compared with nonveterinary health-care personnel, deployed veterinary personnel were at greater risk of generalized anxiety disorder and reported more secondary traumatic stress and anger reactions, but were less likely to be engaged in and exposed to protective factors. Interventions designed to promote self-care and team support for veterinary personnel and their leaders may reduce the occupational risk of BH symptoms in deployment and perhaps other settings.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association