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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

An acceptance and commitment training (ACT) educational program targeting reaction to difficult client interactions recently demonstrated efficacy in reducing burden transfer, stress, and burnout in veterinary healthcare teams. The current noninferiority trial compared effectiveness of the original program with a self-paced version.

SAMPLE

Employees of 2 corporate veterinary groups were randomized to live (n = 128) or self-paced (124) conditions. The workshop and assessments were completed by 137 (55 live and 82 self-paced).

PROCEDURES

Asynchronous modules containing the same content as the original program were placed on in-house veterinary clinic learning systems. Participants of this parallel arms trial completed pretest measures of burden transfer, stress, and burnout. Following assessment, the 3-week ACT program was delivered via videoconferencing (live) or asynchronous modules (self-paced). At post-test and 1-month follow-up, measures were repeated, with added assessment of knowledge, helpfulness ratings, and usage of techniques. A subset (n = 33) of participants repeated measures 9 to 12 months as an extended follow-up.

RESULTS

Program helpfulness was rated more highly by live versus self-paced participants. Self-paced showed better program retention. No differences in knowledge or use of program techniques (> 5 times daily) emerged. Relative to pretest, both conditions showed reduced burden transfer, stress, and burnout at post-test and follow-up; no differences by condition emerged. Participants completing extended follow-up maintained improvement from baseline.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings suggest a learning system–based version of this program can improve occupational distress in veterinary healthcare teams, with gains maintained over time. The flexibility of this format promotes program completion and allows broader dissemination.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association