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Prioritising Veterinary Staff Wellbeing in the Digital Age

Prioritising Veterinary Staff Wellbeing in the Digital Age

The transition to digital operations, while streamlining diagnostic and treatment processes, also brings with it a need for adaptability and continuous learning. It can put a strain on your veterinary staff as they try to keep up with their workloads while learning how to use new tools. Intersect that with the pressure of clinical excellence and the personal lives of your staff and it becomes clear why veterinarians oftentimes struggle with mental health.

Veterinarian Mental Health: An Ongoing Concern

It’s no secret that veterinary professionals are among the most dedicated out there. But it’s also no secret that this dedication often comes at a cost. With over 26% of veterinarians dealing with anxiety and nearly 10% being classified as likely depressed, the mental health of veterinarians is not an issue you can gloss over.

This issue has not gone unnoticed. The RCVS started the Mind Matters Initiative which aims to provide resources and support for veterinarians struggling with their mental health. It also funds research into the causes and potential solutions of the current mental health crisis plaguing the veterinary industry. Vetlife also created a hotline that veterinarians can call for immediate support. On top of a hotline, they provide financial support to help veterinarians get the professional services they need. While these services help support the industry as a whole, individual practices also need to get involved and offer the support their veterinarians need.

So, what can you do to help the veterinarians at your practice better manage their mental health?

Can Technology Help Your Veterinarians’ Mental Health?

Technological advancements are a bit like high-powered diagnostic equipment. It comes with both incredible benefits and a need for careful handling. Let’s unpack this duality that’s reshaping our industry.

Benefits of Technology

On one side of the coin, technology can improve nearly every aspect of a veterinary practice’s operations. Digital radiography, telemedicine, and advanced surgical tools are transforming how we diagnose and treat our patients. We can peek inside an animal with an MRI, consult with a colleague halfway around the world, and zap ailments with pinpoint accuracy. Practices that keep up with tech trends are often seen as leaders, attracting clients who want the best for their pets.

Drawbacks of Technology

When bringing new technology into your practice, learning curves can be steep. This can put a lot of pressure on your staff as they try to keep up with their current workload while learning a new workflow. So, you need to go beyond buying the latest equipment by also providing ongoing training to help your staff adapt to new workflows.

It can also create an impersonal barrier between veterinarians and pet owners. No gadget can replace the empathy and trust-building that happens with a simple handshake. Balancing cutting-edge care with old-fashioned personal touches is a new art that veterinarians need to master.

Using Technology to Support Your Veterinarians

So, what’s the best way forward? It all comes down to using technology strategically. Critically assess which technologies can genuinely enhance your practice and improve patient care. Then, invest in training your staff so they can fully leverage every piece of equipment and software you put in their hands. This balanced approach empowers your veterinarians to continue providing great care without overloading them with new tools.

Implementing Support Programs for Your Veterinary Staff

Robust support programs can make the difference between a team that’s merely surviving and one that’s thriving. Although they can take almost any form, they all share a common goal of providing a safety net for the emotional and professional challenges your staff faces. They can even incorporate learning from peers about ways to use new technologies!

Here are a few support programs you can implement at your veterinary practice to support your staff:

  • Peer Support Systems: A great starting point is to establish peer support systems. This involves creating a culture where no one feels isolated in their struggles. By setting up mentorship programs, regular check-ins, and team-building activities, you can foster a sense of community and camaraderie that makes tough days a little more bearable.
  • Professional Development: Offering opportunities for professional development not only keeps our staff at the top of their game but also shows that you’re invested in their career progression. Whether it’s attending conferences, participating in webinars, or subscribing to the latest journals, these resources can be a huge morale booster.
  • Mental Health Resources: It’s time to make mental health resources as accessible as the first aid kit. This means providing access to counseling services, stress management workshops, and even apps that promote mental well-being. Aim to give your staff the tools they need to maintain their mental health proactively.
  • Work-Life Balance Initiatives: Balance is key. Work-life balance initiatives, such as flexible scheduling, recognising the need for time off, and encouraging vacations, can help prevent burnout. This also shows the respect you have for your staff’s lives outside the clinic walls.

These initiatives are the building blocks for a practice where staff satisfaction and well-being are as much a priority as patient care.

Fostering a Healthy Work Environment

Creating a healthy work environment is not just about well-being; it’s about enabling our team to deliver the best possible care to our patients. A supportive, healthy workplace is the soil from which excellence grows. It’s your job to cultivate an environment that allows your staff to flourish professionally and personally.

A healthy work environment starts with attention to the physical aspects of the workplace. Ergonomic workstations, adequate lighting, and proper equipment reduce the strain of the physically demanding work our staff do daily. Regular breaks and a comfortable staff room can also go a long way in helping everyone recharge throughout the day.

On the emotional front, the intensity of veterinary care can take its toll and often leads to compassion fatigue. Recognising and validating these emotional challenges is the first step in creating a supportive atmosphere. Encouraging open conversations about the tough parts of the job can destigmatise the stress and grief that come with the territory.

Creating a healthy work environment is not a one-time task. So, solicit and act upon staff feedback to show that you’re committed to making your practice a better place to work. This iterative process of listening, adjusting, and enhancing keeps your practice’s work environment in tune with your team’s needs improving staff retention.


By implementing robust support programs, fostering a healthy work environment, and embracing technology thoughtfully, you can create a sustainable model that supports your staff and your practice. As you continue to advance in the digital era, keep the wellbeing of your veterinary staff as your top priority. That way, your staff can support you and your practice through a commitment to the animals they serve.