3 Drivers of Stress in the Veterinary Industry and How To Address Them

CareVet's innovative approach to managing Team Members' stress at the hospital level.

#StressAwarenessMonth brings attention to a problem that plagues the veterinary industry year-round: pressure, burnout, fatigue and of course, stress. Since day one, CareVet has been committed to reducing both psychological and physical exhaustion amongst our Team Members. When we first set out to better understand the numerous challenges veterinary professionals face that cause increased levels of stress and lead to burnout, we found three primary forces contributing to our Team Members’ stress levels. Continue reading to learn about these causes, and more importantly, how we can combat stress at the hospital level. 

1. Rising pet ownership has caused veterinary services to be in high demand. 

According to the 2022 American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of US households own pets, up 17% from 2001. This surge in pet ownership has put a strain on all veterinary professionals by causing an increase in demand, without more support or hospital space to accommodate. At CareVet, our goal is to provide our Team Members with the support they need for their practice to grow and thrive without sacrificing their free time and well-being. For example, the CareVet team takes care of day-to-day operations like payroll and accounting so that our teams can focus on clients. We can also provide facility updates, introduce new specialty equipment or even hire another doctor so our teams can comfortably accommodate growing demand. Finally, we strengthen our Team Members by providing a living wage, revenue sharing options, continued development opportunities and more 

2. Humanization of companion animals has spurred increased compassion fatigue.  

The thing that stresses pet parents out the most is their pet getting sick (76%), their dog/cat having a chronic/long-term illness (73%), and potential unknown health issues (73%). In addition, 77% of pet parents are concerned about their pet’s future health,according to a study by Kinship Partners. As clients become increasingly emotionally attached to their companion animals, veterinary Team Members take responsibility for patient outcomes more personally than ever. As an organization founded by Veterinarians, we know this emotional toll firsthand, which means we understand that there is not one simple solution. That is why we developed the Whole Person Approach, which concentrates are bettering each Team Member’s personal and professional needs for health, fulfillment and advancement. We also have a licensed social worker on staff and offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) so that everyone in our network has access to free counseling and emotional support resources. 

Furthermore, we encourage our Team Members to take their paid time off to rest and recharge. We even offer complimentary vacation or staycation experiences annually through our Carebnb program for eligible DVMs. Flexible scheduling ensures our doctors are not overworked and allows them more time with friends and family, which unfortunately is not a luxury for many Veterinarians. Click here to read about the rest of our work/life balance benefits. 

3. Financial burden due to low wages and high student debt. 

Even though veterinary professionals work extremely hard providing integral, life-saving services to their clients, they are usually not set-up with the financial success they deserve. In many cases, Veterinary Assistants and Technicians earn less than $15/hour and many doctors are paid on production, meaning their compensation is reliant on the amount of revenue they produce. Further compounding this issue, many veterinary professionals have student debt weighing on them. These factors contributed to CareVet making a significant investment in our teams, beginning in April 2021 with our Living Wage Initiative, raising every veterinary Team Member in our network to a living wage, followed by an additional increase at the start of 2022. . In November of 2021, we launched The Ultimate CarePackage, providing additional financial benefits to eligible DVMs, including $100K minimum base salary and competitive sign on bonus es, along with student loan support, company paid life insurance,, paid luxury vacations, parental support including paid leave and adoption assistance, to name a few. 

We are proud to provide these industry leading benefits to our Team Members, which have led to a 97% DVM retention rate, but our work is not done. We continue to learn from our network and develop innovative solutions to the issues at play throughout our industry. Our goal is simple: implement more measures so our Team Members can truly find happiness in their career. To learn more about these benefits and The Ultimate CarePackage, click here!