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Rude pet owners could prompt vets to rethink careers
“With reports showing that more than three million UK households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, vets are under increased pressure" - Dr Amy Irwin.
Research highlights the importance of supporting veterinary colleagues.

Rudeness towards veterinary professionals is associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety - along with an increased risk of burnout - and could incite some to rethink their future in the industry, new research suggests.

In the paper, published in Veterinary Record, psychologists at the University of Aberdeen warn that the veterinary team can experience rudeness from clients and co-workers with varying effects. 

The idea of emotional labour, which suggests that veterinary employees must offer professional "service with a smile" - even if the customer is acting impolitely - may explain the link between client rudeness and increased anxiety and the risk of burnout.

Senior colleagues' rudeness was linked to lower work satisfaction and a higher risk of leaving. If their organisation does not support them, veterinary nurses, in particular, may be more likely to leave their practice or the profession.

Based on their findings, researchers suggest that veterinary workplaces should encourage staff to discuss rude incidents to gain support from colleagues and build procedural support mechanisms, such as guidelines for managing uncivil clients. 

The team also recommends having protocols for taking additional staff into a consult and re-allocating client consults to allow them time to recover after an uncivil interaction. 

Study lead Dr Amy Irwin from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Psychology commented: “With reports showing that more than three million UK households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, vets are under increased pressure.

“Clients themselves might also be struggling, with the financial aspect of veterinary care provision highlighted as a sensitive area, with several participants describing incidents that began when the client received the bill. Participants suggested this type of reaction could sometimes be based on client guilt, where the client chooses not to proceed, or refuses a treatment, because they cannot afford it.”

In the study, researchers looked at client and co-worker incivility towards vets and veterinary nurses across the UK and Ireland. The work built on previous studies that highlighted aggressive clients as a stressor for vets working alone, particularly when working on-call or at night.

The initial Aberdeen-led interview study focused on client incivility was published in Veterinary Record in December. A more in-depth questionnaire-based research assessing customer and co-worker incivility, completed by 252 veterinary workers, is presently in-press with the same journal.


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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.