The burden of care: A dvm360 Leadership Challenge


Confronting some of the veterinary profession's deepest issues: depression, compassion fatigue, burnoutand a high suicide risk.

There are many factors that can erode well-being in the veterinary profession. Isolation, financial burdens, difficult client interactions, stigmas associated with seeking help, and a high exposure to death may all contribute to emotional and mental instability.

In this dvm360 Leadership Challenge, we offer evidence of the problem, stories of those who have overcome and resources that can help you or a loved one gain freedom from the burdens that weigh you down.

5 signs it's time to quit your job

Dr. Andy Roark lists out some of the top signs you've fallen out of love with your job. Special thanks to Breanne Sneddon, RVT.

The burden of care: Know the risks to your mental health

It's something the entire veterinary profession needs to be aware of-that is, if it wants to protect its members from depression and a frighteningly high risk for suicide.

Burnout, compassion fatigue, depression-what's the difference?

Understanding the signs, symptoms and causes of mental health issues may help to identify problems in yourself and your veterinary colleagues.

Build a strong foundation of basic wellness

It may seem simple, but experts say wellness-physical and emotional-begins with basic fundamentals that will protect you when times get tough.

Veterinarians who are overcoming burnout

Four veterinarians share how they faced burnout and made veterinary medicine work for them.

Tips and tools to be a happier veterinarian

Your advice from the 2015 dvm360 Job Satisfaction Survey.

The current state of veterinary job satisfaction

Exclusive research from the dvm360 team shows what looks like a crisis of confidence, with veterinarians reporting more complaints and fewer joys. Still, it's clearly not all bad.

2015 dvm360 Job Satisfaction Survey: Full results

Complete results from a study showing a dip in veterinary happiness.

Depression: Hard to understand unless you've been there

Not everyone can empathize with those who struggle, but the veterinary profession must address its inherent mental health risks.

Are you aware of your level of self-care?

Use this tool to assess your physical and mental well-being.

Mental and emotional health resource list for veterinary teams

Need help with your burden-or know someone who does? Start with this list.

The burdens of veterinary medicine: In your own words

Comments on what you struggle with as veterinarians-and where you find hope and happiness as well.

The Veterinary Confessionals Project

This growing effort allows veterinary professionals to express themselves freely, without being judged, and encourages creativity and solidarity within the veterinary community

Watch out for emotional danger signals in your veterinary colleagues

Long hours in the high-stress atmosphere of a veterinary clinic can contribute to disorders both physical and mental. Consultant Shawn McVey, MA, MSW-who happens to be a licensed psychotherapist-outlines possible manifestations of emotional distress in veterinary professionals.

Are you happy?

A first look at the 2015 Veterinary Economics Career and Family Survey examines how veterinarians' personal choices correspond to overall happiness.

The power to change lies within

It's time to work on these issues to live happier lives.

Veterinary medicine's top 10 regrets

Here's what veterinarians wish they had done differently, according to the 2015 Veterinary Economics Career and Family Survey.

Questions asked in the 2015 Veterinary Economics Career and Family Survey were personal and telling

Check out the 96 questions we asked of respondents.

Do you fit the profile?

Dive into the data from the 2015 Veterinary Economics Career and Family Survey to see the characteristics that correspond most with happiness-and unhappiness.


Feeling fractured at your veterinary job?

Use these 13 tips to take care of yourself so you're more prepared to take care of the pets in your care.

Self-test: Are you suffering from compassion fatigue?

Check yourself with this quick list of symptoms. Then seek help.

3 steps to a happier veterinary team

Moods: They set the tone for practice success or failure. Here's how to hire, and hone, those moods for the better

Why I left the veterinary profession

When you give the veterinary profession all you've got, it can be exhausting if you don't feel like it's making a difference. I didn't realize the depths of what I was feeling until the symptoms hit.

How I stay happy in the veterinary profession

When I turned 70 in 2011, people started asking me if I was going to retire. Now that I am 73, friends ask when I'm going to retire.

What's bringing you down?

Diagnosing the source of your frustration at your veterinary practice can lead to the right treatment-and even a cure for what's ailing you.

Are you happy at work?

Veterinary team members come clean with the data and facts about their feelings about their work-including why they might leave the profession.

A closeup look at Veterinary Humor

Sometimes a good laugh can ease the burden of a busy day. And the Veterinary Humor page on Facebook does just that-gives a quick, funny look at the humor you can find in practice every day. Here's a quick Q&A with the creator of Veterinary Humor.

If you're happy in veterinary practice and you know it ...

you're one of the 60% of Firstline readers who overall feel happy at work. In fact, 44% of you are happier than you were five years ago. But some of you are hurting-and it can be a very serious hurt. Here's a closer look.

Better mental health = better medicine

Pressures of veterinary practice too much at times? Read these stories from colleagues who relate and then explore our resources to help.

The cost of caring

Veterinary Medicine's Medical Editor Dr. Heather Lewellen shares her own story of compassion fatigue.

Surviving thoughts of suicide

One veterinarian's struggle with the pressures of practice and life outside of practice, with some pointers to help you through your tough times.

Probing the link between veterinarian's suicide risk and performing euthanasia

Performing euthanasia has been implicated as a contributing factor to mood disorders and suicide among veterinarians. Is it really a factor?

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