Understanding and Preventing Veterinary Burnout

Veterinary practice owners and employees have rewarding—but highly challenging—jobs. And in recent years, the veterinary industry has seen higher customer volume, lower employee retention, and a seemingly never-ending slew of new restrictions and safety practices. These developments, in addition to the traditional day-to-day challenges inherent to the veterinary industry, can result in burnout. In this article, we discuss veterinary burnout and how to prevent it. 

What is Veterinary Burnout? 

Veterinary burnout is a state of emotional or physical exhaustion that also involves a loss of personal identity and sense of reduced accomplishment. There are multiple things that can contribute to veterinary burnout, including lack of resources, long hours, working in a hospital environment, and consistent exposure to trauma. 

Veterinary Burnout Warning Signs

Veterinary burnout can take many different forms. Common signs of veterinary burnout include: 

  • A compulsion to prove oneself 
  • Working harder
  • Neglecting one’s needs
  • Revision of values
  • Withdrawal
  • Denial of problems
  • Depression
  • Displacement of conflicts
  • Clear behavior changes
  • A feeling of inner emptiness
  • Depersonalization
  • Depression
  • Burnout syndrome

Avoiding Veterinary Burnout

In addition to seeking the help of a professional, there are several ways to avoid veterinary burnout, including:

  • Remember why you practice veterinary medicine: Sometimes, avoiding veterinary burnout involves reminding yourself why you practice veterinary medicine—the love of animals! Although working with animals can be difficult, it is also highly rewarding. Not only does veterinary medicine afford you the opportunity to make a profound impact on the lives of pets and their owners, but it also comes with multiple daily rewards, such as happy customers and wagging tails!
  • Be grateful: Gratitude is not simply a good feeling. Rather, it’s an intentional practice. In other words, you can choose to be grateful. And when you’re grateful, it’s difficult to feel stressed out.  To practice gratitude, you should focus on the moments in your job that bring you joy. 
  • Don’t bring your work home: Although it can be difficult to do so, another way to avoid veterinary burnout is to leave your work where it belongs—at work! Remember, work will always be there when you return. When you’re at home, focus on relaxing and destressing.  
  • Seek help: Finally, if you are finding it difficult to get over your burnout, you should seek professional help. There are plenty of options in this area, including counselors, life coaches, and more. Remember, while everyone gets stressed from time to time, burnout should not be your normal state. 

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

At Mahan Law, our team of knowledgeable and experienced legal professionals provide support to those in the veterinary industry. When you come to us for assistance, we are available to assist in multiple areas, including veterinary practice transactions, veterinary policy and procedure development, and veterinary litigation.  In other words, regardless of your needs, our experienced veterinary professionals are here to help you succeed. Please contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced veterinary practice attorney.