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Veterinarians asked to contribute to WSAVA global wellness initiative

12 November 2018, at 3:08pm

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is urging companion animal veterinarians globally to complete a multi-lingual online questionnaire from its newly formed Professional Wellness Group (PWG). Data from the survey will help the PWG to establish a benchmark for veterinary wellness in different regions of the world and inform its work to create tools and resources to support the health and wellbeing of all veterinary professionals.

There is increased recognition that stress and their demanding workplace environment are adversely affecting the mental well-being and physical health of many veterinarians. A study* estimates that the incidence of suicide in the veterinary profession in countries such as the USA, UK, Australia and Norway is double that of other healthcare professionals and four times that of the general population. The WSAVA PWG has embarked on a three-year project to review state-of-the art thinking on this issue and aims to provide a uniquely global perspective that recognises the regional, economic and cultural aspects that may affect the prevalence and impact of veterinary wellness in all parts of the world.

As a first step, it is conducting a survey of veterinary wellness globally using an online questionnaire. Based on the survey’s findings, it will collate and disseminate the most effective tools already available to support veterinary wellness and will then develop new resources, including guidelines and toolkits, to address any shortfalls. It is also developing a WSAVA mentoring scheme.

The PWG is led by Dr Nienke Endenburg, a human psychologist working at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University, and Dr Derick Chibeu, a veterinarian working in Kenya. Dr Endenburg said: “Veterinarians care for animals and owners but who takes care of them? We’re working to explore the extent to which professional wellness is an issue in all parts of the world and to increase our understanding of global attitudes towards it in order to provide appropriate solutions.

“We ask all veterinary professionals to help us by completing the online questionnaire. It’s available in six languages and won’t take long. The more information we receive from colleagues around the world, the better the support we’ll be able to provide.”

The questionnaire is available here: https://www.wsava.org/Committees/Committees/Professional-Wellness-Group

The WSAVA works to enhance the clinical care of companion animals globally, representing more than 200,00 veterinarians around the world through 110 member associations. Its core activities include the creation of Global Guidelines which set standards for veterinary care and providing continuing education (CE) and other educational resources for its members, particularly those in countries in which companion animal veterinary care is still emerging.

*(Stoewen, 2016; Bartram & Baldwin, 2008).