Wellness Program

Coping with the stress of veterinary practice

Have you been faced with a build-up of stress within your practicing environment, that has lead to feelings of helplessness and the inability to cope? Well, you are not alone. In fact, it is likely that every single veterinary practitioner will reach this point at least once in his or her career.

In fact, it is believed that the veterinary profession has the highest rate of depression, burn-out and suicide compared to any other profession in the world.

We have assisted many of our colleagues who have experienced cumulative build-ups of stress from veterinary statutory-body disciplinary proceedings (regarded in a recent survey as the most stressful event in practice); disputes with clients (regarded in this survey as the second most stressful event in practice); increasing demands of veterinary practice; the ever-increasingly complicated medico-legal environment; fatigue; illness; break-up of personal relationships and divorce; economic effects of the poor economy – the list is endless.

We are veterinarians who are in, or have been in private veterinary practice and we understand and may even have personally experienced the psychological toll that such difficulties may have on you.

Getting assistance

If you are a VDA member, our VDA Consultants are available to discuss your medico-legal difficulties and the impact they have on you. If your situation is caused by additional stressors, then we will refer you to our psychology counselor, who is an experienced veterinary practitioner, and who specialises in counseling veterinarians in difficulty.

When seeking assistance from the VDA in any matter, please tell us if you feel the stress of the matter is affecting you unduly. There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you are not coping – remember that we have probably also been there.

The VDA is committed to learning more about stress arising from adverse events and medico-legal issues and in developing ways to help our members deal with stress. We encourage our members to share their experiences so that other members can benefit from the insights and coping strategies of their colleagues, and to realize that they are not unique or alone when confronted with such problems.