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Looking back as a veterinarian starting my career nearly 17 years ago, I can say I was fortunate to have been surrounded by strong leaders and mentors in this rewarding profession. However, as we take a deeper look at Merck Animal Health’s recent Veterinarian Wellbeing Study in partnership with the AVMA, we are learning that stress and burnout levels have grown even higher among young veterinarians, with the transition to practice being particularly challenging.
Amid the pandemic, staffing shortages at veterinary clinics have collided with decreased efficiency due to changing safety protocols and workflows (source), which creates an overwhelming environment and an overextended workforce in an already high-anxiety, high-intensity profession. Adding to these concerns, the Wellbeing Study revealed that 81% of staff and 67% of veterinarians faced challenges with their clinics being short-handed due to employees spending time away from work for illness or family care. As a mother and former full-time practitioner, I immediately think of the impact and stress that has on one’s work-life balance when simultaneously caring for a family, your patients, and the practice.
To set the stage today, many animal health workers are female, including 62% of veterinarians, 95% of veterinary technicians, and 84% of veterinary assistants and laboratory workers (source). In addition, women are increasingly dominating the profession, and currently over three-quarters of new graduates are female (source). Which brings up the question: how do we instill and promote positive wellbeing practices to keep our profession thriving and healthy for females in the future?
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