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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Merck Animal Health Veterinarian Wellbeing Study III was conducted to continue to monitor mental health and well being within the veterinary profession in the US and to identify factors associated with high levels of wellbeing and lack of serious psychological distress.

METHODS

A questionnaire consisting of several instruments and questions for measurement of mental health and wellbeing was completed by 2,495 veterinarians and 448 veterinary support staff. Results for veterinarians were weighted to the US AVMA membership.

RESULTS

This study revealed that wellbeing and mental health of some veterinarians declined over the past 2 years, driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme labor shortages. Burnout remained at a high level, but there was no increase in suicide ideation. A new companion survey of veterinary support staff demonstrated that staff scored lower in wellbeing and mental health, and higher in burnout than veterinarians.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Importantly, these studies identified techniques that both individuals and employers may find useful in fostering wellbeing and good mental health. A healthy method for coping with stress and good work-life balance was important, as was engaging a financial adviser for those with student debt or other financial stresses. Employers should create safe environments where employees feel comfortable seeking help, reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues. In addition, employers can provide Employee Assistance Programs and health insurance that covers mental health treatment. Fostering a healthy work culture was also important, one with good communication, teamwork, trust, and adequate time allotted to provide quality patient care.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess levels of burnout, well-being, and mental health of veterinarians and compare them to those of nonveterinarians by use of validated instruments, and to identify the predictive values of techniques individuals can use to help reduce burnout and/or improve well-being and mental health.

SAMPLE

An online survey of 4,636 veterinarians from a random sample of 40,000 US veterinarians provided by the AVMA.

METHODS

The study was fielded from September 11 to October 9, 2023.

RESULTS

Burnout and well-being of veterinarians were generally consistent with that of employed US adults. Serious psychological distress was more common among veterinarians than in the general population. Veterinarians on average were more likely to score higher in neuroticism than nonveterinarians, and neuroticism was a predictor of low well-being, poor mental health, and burnout. Work-life balance, an effective coping mechanism for stress, and working in a positive clinic culture were among the significant factors that predicted good well-being and mental health and reduced burnout.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The higher percentage than the norm of veterinarians with serious psychological distress was a concern. Focusing on maintaining a good work-life balance and adopting a reliable coping mechanism can potentially help reduce distress. Veterinary medicine is an inherently stressful profession. The purpose of this study was to identify key factors that contribute to burnout, well-being, and mental health and to determine what behaviors and management techniques help reduce stress and burnout and contribute to well-being and mental health, thus improving job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association