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Practical strategies to manage work-related stress in the veterinary profession
  1. Michael Meehan
  1. Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
  1. email: mmeehan{at}uoguelph.ca

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It has been five years since Maastenbroek and colleagues published a burnout survey specifically designed for veterinarians.1 Since then, research continues to show that veterinarians, especially women and recent graduates, appear to be at greater risk of suicide than the general population.2 Almost 10 per cent of veterinarians experience severe feelings of depression, anxiety, compassion fatigue or burnout.3

Of concern is that 40 per cent of veterinarians would not recommend others to enter the profession, with the main sources of stress being identified as high student debt, low compensation, poor work-life balance and conflict with clients and colleagues.4 Other sources of stress identified are medical errors,5 client and co-worker issues6 and working in an environment with team members who display toxic attitudes.7

Given the large expansion of corporate veterinary practices in recent years, the evidence suggesting that staff perceive working for a corporate practice as more stressful than independent or private clinics is noteworthy.8

These findings are reminders that members of the profession are still suffering from stress, and that research into the sources of stress and practical management strategies is always needed.

In a paper summarised on p 588 of this issue of Vet Record, O’Connor explores the sources of stress in UK veterinary practice.9 This is a timely study, with verbatim quotes reinforcing the importance of each identified theme. O‘Connor describes familiar stress sources such as …

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