Building your Veterinary Wellness Action Plan
Effective Ways to Combat the Physical & Psychological Threats Veterinary Professionals Face
Melyssa Allen – January 24, 2023
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Rising rates of burnout among veterinary professionals, increasing rates of lifestyle related chronic diseases, and lack of emphasis on or understanding of professional self-care are challenges that have been prevalent in veterinary medicine before the COVID-19 pandemic (Lovell & Lee, 2013). The residual effects of the pandemic will continue to impact veterinary professionals, and prioritizing efforts to support, enhance and restore well-being will be crucial. Without access to proper resources for health and well-being, there is likely to be increased medical errors, decreased patient satisfaction scores, and reduced staff retention due to conditions like burnout, compassion fatigue, and lack of fulfillment among veterinary professionals (Shanafelt & Noseworthy, 2017). To combat these threats posed to the veterinary industry, therapeutic lifestyle interventions in combination with positive psychology practices have been suggested to act as a protective factor and possible “antidote” to burnout for human healthcare providers (Morton, 2018). This combination of interventions potentially offers solutions to support the psychological and physical well-being of veterinary professionals (Brannick et al., 2015; Lianov, 2021). The adoption of positive health habits empowers veterinary professionals to participate in professional self-care on an individual level, while it is equally important for organizations to prioritize strategies that can be implemented to support veterinary well-being.
Melyssa Allen, MA, CHWC, DipACLM is a board-certified lifestyle medicine professional and certified health and well-being coach with a diverse background as an animal trainer, fitness instructor, and mental health counselor. She received her Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology and her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida. Melyssa has firsthand experience witnessing the dedication of veterinary professionals in their careers while she worked as an animal trainer with the Navy’s Marine Mammal Program and SeaWorld Orlando. Using her multidisciplinary expertise in the fields of lifestyle medicine, mental health, and well-being coaching, she is passionate about helping veterinary professionals implement positive lifestyle habits through her company, Mind-Body-Thrive Lifestyle.