A questionnaire based study to assess compassion fatigue in UK practising veterinary nurses
Background:Veterinary staff have been identified as a profession at high risk of suffering from the effects of compassion fatigue (CF), although no specific studies have been carried out to date to assess the risk to UK registered veterinary nurses (RVNs), of this important area of mental health.Aims and objectives:To establish whether CF was a risk factor to RVNs, with the aim of improving mental wellbeing across the veterinary profession as a whole.Methods:An internet-based survey was produced, open to all RVNs who had worked in practice within the last 30 days, using a version of the Professional Quality of Life Scale V (ProQOL). The survey was promoted through various means including social media, an email campaign of veterinary practices and an internet link promoted through veterinary nurse (VN) training colleges.Results:A total of 992 eligible responses were received; 92.8% of respondents were identified as being at moderate/high risk of burnout, with 68.1% of respondents being at moderate/high risk of secondary traumatic stress (STS). Levels of burnout and STS were statistically lower in those experiencing high levels of compassion satisfaction (CS).Conclusion:The statistical analysis performed showed that RVNs are at risk of suffering from CF. The study revealed that working as an RVN posed a risk to mental health in the form of CF. The preventative effect of CS was statistically significant therefore employers should strive to ensure their workers achieve satisfaction in their work to help maintain a mentally healthy workforce.
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