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What do clients want in a veterinarian?
  1. Anne Fawcett
  1. School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia
  1. E-mail: anne.fawcett{at}

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How well we, as veterinarians, can meet the needs and desires of our clients is inextricably linked with our ability to optimise clinical outcomes, animal welfare and personal wellbeing, as well as our own career satisfaction. But what exactly do clients need, and what do they want from us?

In a study, summarised on p 534 of this week’s Vet Record, Hughes and others have asked small animal, farm animal and equine clients around the world exactly that.1 The short answer is that, as the title of their paper suggests, clients want veterinarians who are committed to animal welfare, demonstrate sound clinical knowledge and take the client – and their own professional duties – seriously.

The study is part of the broader VetSet2Go project (, an international collaboration aiming to develop an evidence-based suite of veterinary graduate capabilities that most strongly influence employability and professional success and to create assessment tools and resources that can be used to build such capabilities. This represents a unique veterinary contribution to the evolving field of employability, designed to bridge the gap between graduate attributes and capabilities desired by employers and clients.2

But this isn’t just about employment. While there has been a great focus on stressors and mental health challenges experienced by veterinarians, including high suicide rates,3–9 less emphasis has been placed on veterinary work as a source of career satisfaction, meaning and flourishing.10 Just as the importance of positive welfare is increasingly recognised in animal welfare science, VetSet2Go is part of a broader dialogue about maximising mental wellbeing in veterinarians.

While there has been a great focus on stressors and mental health challenges experienced by veterinarians, …

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