house calls

Pandemic fatigue and burnout

By JOSEPH A. D'ABBRACCIO, D.V.M.
Posted 2/10/21

January marked the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 diagnoses in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In that 12 month period, the world as we …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
house calls

Pandemic fatigue and burnout

Posted

January marked the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 diagnoses in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In that 12 month period, the world as we knew it changed in every respect. Schools closed then, later, developed remote learning. Businesses sent employees away from the workplace to continue work at home, if possible, while other businesses closed entirely. Travel came to a standstill. Holiday plans were canceled. People had to find other ways to entertain themselves and their families. Some found refuge performing home projects, developing a new hobby, picking up a new book, and some decided to visit their local animal shelter to adopt their new best friend. The latter has brought forward unprecedented change in the area of animal health care and husbandry.

Veterinarians across the country are seeing astonishing numbers of patients daily. Patients with illnesses that would normally be seen by your family veterinarian are not able to get in. Every veterinary practice is booked out several weeks for routine care, with only so many daily spots for sick patients. This then forces the area veterinary hospitals to refer patients to emergency rooms or specialty centers. In the past six months, several of those specialty hospitals stopped taking patients as they were at capacity. They were forced to divert patients to other facilities. At times, the wait times to be seen have been eight to 16 hours. Imagine sitting in your car with your sick pet, or sitting in your car alone while your pet is inside the hospital waiting to be seen.

While many perceive veterinary medicine to be a happy career of loving puppies and kittens with complete positivity, that is so very far from reality. Yes, veterinarians and veterinary team members get to care for amazing patients, but often, the job is filled with heartache, unappreciation, physical demands, emotional setbacks and, sometimes, damn near abuse. Imagine spending your 12- or 18-hour day driving forward your patient roster with sick pet after sick pet. Plus, during that period, you are also dealing with all the emotions the owner is going through. Some of those owners are not only grappling with the illness of their pet but also the financial burdens of veterinary care. In many cases, the veterinary professional is put in very unkind situations, such as being blamed for the pet’s illness or being accused of only caring about making money. Of course, these accusations cannot be further from the truth. The grind of the profession is often like weathering a hurricane, and that experience is repeated daily, week after week.

Pandemic fatigue syndrome is certainly something we all can appreciate on more than one level. It is more important now, more than ever, that we all continue to be kind to one another. We all must appreciate and understand that everyone is going through struggles together and that we must communicate and work together to make every situation better. All members of the veterinary health care team care about the health and wellbeing of all of our patients. We all dedicate our entire lives to being the custodians of the human-animal bond and advocate for animal welfare. Please remember to be kind to one another.

Catskill Veterinary Services, PLLC

www.catskillvetservices.com

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment