Burnout symptoms and workplace satisfaction among veterinary emergency care providers

J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2023 Jan 11. doi: 10.1111/vec.13271. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objectives: To measure symptoms of burnout among veterinary emergency care providers (VECPs), determine how burnout symptoms among VECPs compare to human emergency care providers, and identify what demographic and workplace variables are associated with these symptoms.

Design: Cross-sectional study using an online survey and convenience sampling.

Subjects: A total of 1204 VECPs including mostly veterinarians and technicians.

Interventions: An online questionnaire using the Maslach Burnout Inventory and Areas of Worklife Survey was distributed between May and July 2018 via an email list and social media. VECPs working less than part-time (<20 h/week) and incomplete survey responses were excluded.

Measurements and main results: VECPs had higher total emotional exhaustion and depersonalization scores and lower total personal accomplishment scores compared to emergency department human healthcare professionals (P < 0.001). Subsets of VECPs with the highest burnout symptom scores included females, residents, those working in private or corporate referral hospitals, and those with off-shift duties. Workplace variables positively associated with burnout symptom scores among these groups typically included perceptions of an unmanageable workload, lack of control over work, little reward (recognition) for work, or an unfair allocation of resources at work. Conversely, VECPs working >20 years and those married or with children at home had lower burnout symptom scores. Workplace variables negatively associated with burnout symptom scores among respondents included perceptions of having a manageable workload, control over work, reward for work, or a fair allocation of resources at work. Multivariable analysis revealed that the variable most positively associated with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization was workload, whereas reward was most positively associated with personal accomplishment (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Burnout symptom scores are higher among VECPs compared to human emergency department teams. Targeting workplace variables such as workload and reward is warranted in future studies to determine strategies for reducing burnout among VECPs.

Keywords: burnout; emergency; well-being; workload; workplace.