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  • Anna Finch

This is a message to all experienced veterinary nurses considering their careers in the industry

In the future.....

... veterinary practices will put family, wellness and consciousness at the forefront of their business decisions

... veterinary workplaces will support their teams to honour their individual, family and career aspirations, with no compromise of one over the other.

... employee fulfilment will empower those in the industry to continue to be the good stewards they are of the relationship and responsibility of care they provide to their clients and animals.

Veterinary nursing is facing a crisis of dissatisfaction. According to global surveys conducted within the past few years,

More than half of veterinary nurses leave the profession within the first five years.

  • An increase of three million “pandemic pets” in two years has exacerbated the gruelling working conditions in the industry.

  • Burnout and compassion fatigue that were rampant before the pandemic are now even worse.

  • Those in the industry report higher levels of exhaustion, distress, lack of enthusiasm, and signs of physical and emotional depletion.

  • The highest levels of burnout were found among veterinary nurses.

So, how can we change such a significant industry crisis?

Perhaps it is by one clinic at a time.

In 2022, the owners of Berry and Shell Cove Clinic, veterinary practices on the South Coast of NSW, started a profound journey to change the operations of their clinics. Feeling the very real burnout themselves, in order to stay in business, they had to do something different.

Starting with the crafting of their ideal future, they have been actively changing their business and clinical operations to work towards this future.

For those in the industry, the future state shared at the beginning of this article no doubt seems almost too far away to even dream of. That future state is the vision of the owners of Berry and Shell Cove Veterinary Clinic.

Have Bryden and Sarah Krebs achieved the future state of their business yet? No, of course not. It’s only been fifteen months, and as we all know, change takes time. But their actions, their words, their decisions, each and every day, are actively contributing towards it happening.

So what is the next step in their journey towards each of their team members being able to honour their individual, family and career aspirations, with no compromise of one over the other, to achieve long and fulfilling careers in the industry? It’s the need to seek out other veterinary nurses who share the same vision and core values.

If you are one of the thousands of experienced veterinary nurses feeling exhausted by the industry and considering a career change, we challenge you to first ask yourself these questions before making any decisions;

What does consciousness mean to you in the workplace?

When we say family and work, how should these connect?

Is wellness a priority for you? If so, what does this look like?

At their team planning day just this month, Bryden and Sarah asked their team to answer these questions. With consciousness, family and wellness core values of the business, they wanted to ensure their team and everyday practices were aligned.

Are you currently feeling burnout, struggling to juggle family and work, or feeling disconnected from your chosen career? Before you leave a profession you once loved, please reach out to us and have a chat. We’d love to learn about your story and explore what these core values mean to you.

KardiaHR - HR Coach to Berry and Shell Cove Clinic, South Coast, NSW

(02) 4408 3509

Berry Vet Clinic is nestled in the heart of the beautiful town of Berry and has a long-standing connection with its regional community. Shell Cove clinic is a newly opened clinic in the booming Shellharbour region, just 1.5 hours south of Sydney. They are a close-knit team of working families, new graduates and professionals young and later in their careers and offer veterinary services for small and large animals.

Workplace burnout is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on an individual's well-being and productivity. In Australia, there are several avenues for seeking support and assistance for workplace burnout:

Beyond Blue: Beyond Blue is a prominent mental health organization in Australia that provides information, resources, and support for mental health issues, including workplace burnout. They offer a helpline and online chat service that individuals can access for assistance.

Heads Up by Beyond Blue: Heads Up is an initiative by Beyond Blue that promotes mentally healthy workplaces. They provide resources and guidance to both employees and employers on managing workplace stress and creating a mentally healthy work environment.

Lifeline Australia: Lifeline is a national charity providing crisis support and suicide prevention services. They offer a 24/7 crisis support helpline that individuals experiencing burnout or related challenges can call for assistance.

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