To describe burden transfer in a sample of veterinary workers employed by a Canadian veterinary corporation and to examine the association between different levels of burden transfer and employee burnout and perceived psychosocial work environment.
475 employees of small-animal veterinary hospitals owned by a corporate practice group.
Veterinary team members among 14 working groups responded to an online survey that included assessments of burden transfer, psychosocial environment, and burnout within the workplace. Participants were divided into groups on the basis of self-reported burden-transfer scores being low, mid, or high, and multivariate analysis of covariance was conducted to ascertain associations between level of burden transfer, psychosocial environment, and burnout.
On average, participants perceived difficult encounters with clients to occur with moderate frequency and reported reactions that were low-moderate in intensity. Individuals with high burden-transfer scores were identified in all working groups. Across the 3 burden-transfer groups, the key finding was that high-level burden transfer was associated with perception of greater emotional demands within the workplace, reduced support from supervisors, reduced feeling of social community in the workplace, and elevated rates of burnout among these participants.
Findings highlight elevated risks for a certain population of veterinary employees experiencing high levels of burden transfer and underscore the potential need for targeted interventions to support these individuals. Employees who currently react to challenging client interactions with moderate or low intensity may also benefit from these programs as a preventative measure.
To classify a sample of veterinary professionals into distinct organizational-commitment profiles and to identify associations between psychosocial aspects of the workplace and organizational-commitment profile membership.
487 veterinary employees who worked for a corporate veterinary organization in Canada.
Survey components measured for this study included the Three-Component Model (TCM) Employee Commitment Survey–Revised, the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire, and participant demographics. First, latent profile analysis was used to identify distinct organizational-commitment profiles based on 3 components of commitment (affective, continuance, and normative). Next, the Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare participants’ intention to leave their hospital on the basis of organizational-commitment profile. Finally, logistic regression was performed to assess the association between perceived psychosocial workplace characteristics and organizational-commitment profile membership.
2 organizational-commitment profiles were identified: Affective/Normative (AC/NC) Dominant (n = 388) and Mid-Low Commitment (99). Participants in the Mid-Low Commitment Profile had a significantly higher intention-to-leave score (median, 3.0) than participants in the AC/NC Dominant Profile (median, 2.0; P < .001). Psychosocial factors found to predict membership in the AC/NC Dominant Profile included the following: influence at work (OR, 2.08; P < .001), meaning of work (OR, 1.38; P = .067), rewards/recognition (OR, 1.63; P = .007), and quality of leadership (OR, 1.85; P = .0003). Members of the AC/NC Dominant Profile also experienced greater work-life conflict (OR, 1.65; P = .003) compared to the Mid-Low Commitment Profile.
Findings identified potential psychosocial aspects of the workplace that can be considered to support more desirable organizational-commitment profiles that are likely to lead to favorable outcomes for veterinary practices and their employees.