Promoting Veterinary Wellness (Our Approach at Animal Emergency Australia)

Discover how wellness can transform the veterinary profession. Learn from Animal Emergency Australia’s approach to supporting veterinary staff.

Veterinary wellness animal emergency service team wearing colourful scrubs

In the demanding and often emotionally charged field of veterinary medicine, prioritising wellness is not just a luxury but a necessity. The veterinary profession faces unique challenges, from managing the health and well-being of animal patients to navigating the emotional toll of difficult cases and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Without proper support and self-care, veterinarians and veterinary staff are at risk of burnout, compassion fatigue, and other mental health issues.

Recognising the critical need for wellness initiatives, many veterinary practices and organisations are implementing strategies to support the mental, emotional, and physical health of their teams. By prioritising wellness, veterinary professionals can not only enhance their own quality of life but also provide better care to their animal patients and contribute to a more sustainable and fulfilling veterinary career.

Our Approach to Wellness at Animal Emergency Australia

Through a multifaceted approach, AEA prioritises the mental, emotional, psychological, and physical health of its veterinary staff, fostering a supportive and sustainable work environment in the hopes of long and satisfying careers for our team.

Here are some of the key strategies AEA employs and suggestions for veterinary colleagues to emulate:

1. Mental Health Support Programs

AEA recognises the stressors inherent in emergency & GP veterinary sector and provides comprehensive mental health support programs for its team which includes:

  • Access to EAP services, Converge International – not just counselling:
  • Peer support groups through our newly developed veterinary graduate program and mentorship program
  • ELMO Online Training & Educational resources: The Healthy shift worker, healthy eating, sleep hygiene and the importance of taking time to support your own mental health.
  • Information on burnout prevention via a partnered program “Burn Out or Just Cooked”
  • Psychological First Aid training that is currently being finalised and rolled out amongst our hospitals
  • SOS – Systems of Support
Mental Health training modules Animal Emergency Australia

2. Work-Life Balance Initiatives

Striking a balance between professional responsibilities and personal life is critical for long-term career satisfaction and mental health. AEA actively promotes work-life balance by offering flexible scheduling options, fatigue management monitoring & workflow analysis and improvement. We encourage our teams prioritise:

  • Self-care by establishing boundaries
  • Scheduling/taking regular breaks
  • Incorporating activities outside of work that bring joy and relaxation
  • Social / Walking/ Picnic groups during the year.

3. Team Building and Supportive CORE Values:

A sense of camaraderie and support among colleagues is invaluable in maintaining morale and resilience. AEA is cultivating a positive work environment through having more team-building activities, mentorship programs, intern programs and regular effective team meetings.

Veterinary colleagues can foster a supportive culture within their own practices by prioritising open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect.

Animal Emergency Service team promoting veterinary wellness at Christmas

4. Physical Health and Wellness Initiatives:

Physical well-being is integral to overall health and productivity. AEA promotes physical wellness through initiatives such as:

  • Converge App – EAP employee assistance program
  • Fitness Passport to access discounted gym memberships,
  • ELMO online learning: Sleep hints.
  • Wellness challenges/mini-games as part of the Great Game of Business
  • National Wellbeing Viva Channel
  • Flourish EAP e-Magazine
  • YouFoodz discounts
  • Online Wellbeing Hub
  • Beyond Blue information

Veterinary colleagues can prioritise physical health by incorporating regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and adequate sleep into their routines.

By implementing similar strategies and prioritising the mental, emotional, and physical health of veterinary professionals, colleagues across the profession can create healthier, more sustainable long-term careers where both animals and humans thrive.

Proomoting wellness within the veterinary profession is not just about ensuring the health and happiness of individual veterinarians and veterinary staff. It is also about safeguarding the quality of care provided to animal patients and the long-term sustainability of the profession as a whole.

By implementing strategies that support mental, emotional, and physical well-being, veterinary practices and organizations can create a more positive and fulfilling work environment, leading to healthier, happier veterinary professionals and better outcomes for both animals and humans alike.

Author: Dini Menrath

Author: Dini Menrath

Workplace Health & Safety Manager | Dip HR, Dip WHS, Wellness Designs Practitioner

Dini is the Workplace Health & Safety Manager at Animal Emergency Australia and passionate and dedicated to all things wellness, particularly within the veterinary profession.

Dini is a highly experienced WH&S professional in the veterinary specialist & after-hours emergency sector, with more than 26 years in the industry & from a family of veterinary professionals.

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