Most vets struggling with stress and burnout

Three-quarters of vets are concerned about stress and burnout in the profession as a result of COVID-19, according to a new survey from the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

Concerns around practical vet student training and student and new veterinary graduate confidence also topped the list of areas of concern relating to the pandemic. 

Six months on from the national lockdown, BVA polled members of the Voice of the Veterinary Profession panel in a snapshot survey to gauge how the profession is feeling about different aspects of veterinary life that may be affected by coronavirus. 565 respondents ranked their levels of concern across health and wellbeing, finance and employment, students and new graduates, and animal health and welfare.

The top concerns are:

  • Stress and burnout in the profession – 74% very or quite concerned
  • The provision of extra-mural studies (practical training) for vet students – 72%
  • Student and new graduate confidence – 67%
  • Stress and burnout amongst colleagues – 67%
  • The impact of a recession on the veterinary sector – 62%

Veterinary workplaces have adapted to working safely, but four in ten respondents (42%) are very or quite concerned about contracting Covid-19 in their workplace.

Respondents were more concerned about stress and burnout amongst their colleagues (67% very or quite concerned) than the impact on themselves (45%). Managers and employees reported higher levels of concern around stress and burnout than business owners and those who are self-employed.

The findings will be used to inform BVA’s work on supporting the veterinary profession as the pandemic continues.

Commenting, BVA President James Russell said: “Although this is just a snapshot survey, it tells us a lot about how our colleagues are feeling six months on from the national lockdown. It paints a worrying, but not surprising, picture about the health and wellbeing of a profession that has worked incredibly hard and in very difficult circumstances this year.

“We are reflecting on all the findings of the survey to make sure BVA is able to continue supporting the profession with all of the challenges of COVID-19 and we’re always keen to hear from members.”

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