Stress and compassion fatigue in veterinary nurses in New Zealand

Laura C Harvey
Sunday, February 2, 2020

Background: Stress and compassion fatigue are widely acknowledged as prevalent in workers in ‘caring’ roles, however this has not been widely documented in New Zealand veterinary nurses. Aim: This project aimed to investigate the prevalence of stress and compassion fatigue in New Zealand veterinary nurses. Method: Using an online survey, veterinary nurses were asked to self-report their incidence of stress or compassion fatigue felt as a result of their working environment. Veterinary nurses were also asked to report the ways in which they cope with stress and compassion fatigue, and their likelihood of changing jobs. Results: There were 288 responses to the survey. Of these, 94% of respondents reported feeling stressed and 82% reported experiencing compassion fatigue as a result of their work. 30% of respondents reported an increase in the consumption of alcohol/cigarettes and drugs as a result of stress. Most respondents reported managing their stress and compassion fatigue by talking to colleagues or family. A large number of respondents reported having considered a career change at some stage due to stress or compassion fatigue. Conclusion: This research demonstrates a high incidence of stress and compassion fatigue in New Zealand veterinary nurses, with a low percentage of those seeking professional support. Further investigation into combatable causal factors for stress as it differs from compassion fatigue is warranted to ultimately offer support to veterinary nurses to continue their vocation.

Subscribe to get full access to The Veterinary Nurse

Thank you for vising The Veterinary nurse and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the leading peer-reviewed journal for veterinary nurses, you can start your subscription today for just £26.

Subscribing will enable you to:

  • Stay up-to-date with current thinking and best practice in veterinary medicine
  • Enhance your knowledge and understanding of all key clinical topics
  • Achieve the mandatory requirement of 45 hours' documented CPD over a three-year period
Subscribe now

Already registered? - Sign in here

Download Now

Keep up to date with The Veterinary Nurse!

Sign up to The Veterinary Nurse's regular newsletters and keep up-to-date with the very latest clinical research and CPD we publish each month.