NUR 2868 DQ What Motivates You to Become or Stay Healthy?

NUR 2868 DQ What Motivates You to Become or Stay Healthy?

NUR 2868 DQ What Motivates You to Become or Stay Healthy?

The concept of health and wellness differs greatly between people. Health can be the absence of disease, while wellness can imply a positive state of health in holism, encompassing the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even social aspects. Think about your own state of health. Do you consider yourself a healthy person? If so, what motivates you to be healthy? If not, what would motivate you to become so?

The topic of veterinary wellness has received increasing attention over the last decade. Whether prompted by societal concern for health and wellness in general, or the growing awareness of the troubling incidence of suicide in the profession (), veterinary wellness is in the spotlight across Canada, and worldwide. We could ask, “Is this because veterinarians’ health is worse than it used to be? Are the challenges of practice becoming overwhelming?” According to Dr. Jean Wallace () in a recent study identifying the stressful parts of veterinarians’ work and how it relates to their wellness, “more and more veterinarians are suffering from compassion fatigue, burnout, and suicidal behaviours.”

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Certainly the stressful aspects of veterinary practice are not new to those in practice. Veterinary practitioners are known to endureNUR 2868 DQ What Motivates You to Become or Stay Healthy long hours, on average working 50 to 60 hours per week. Beyond the fatigue that accompanies this and the wide-ranging fallouts of work-life imbalance (relationship breakdowns, social isolation, insufficient self-care, and inadequate coping — all significant stressors in themselves) veterinarians’ work is emotionally charged, and therein, emotionally taxing. The context of pain, suffering, worries,

fear, failures, and death can wear on veterinarians and their co-workers, and even potentiate discord among hospital personnel and difficult relations with clients, causing further stress and distress. The moral distress of balancing quality patient care with client financial means, and the psycho-socio-emotional realities of euthanasia (both humane- and economic-based) are daily aspects of practice that threaten to undermine even the most resilient.

Today’s practitioners confront some newer trends, the stresses of rising client expectations, increasing risk of complaints and malpractice suits, intensifying regulatory governance and accountability, and mounting student debt all within a highly competitive market wherein business management knowledge and skills press to become just as essential as veterinary knowledge and skills. To top it off, today’s practitioners face a constant struggle to keep up with the information explosion. This is a challenge in itself, but a challenge made greater by the rate at which veterinary medicine is ever more closely approximating the standards and sophistication of human medicine. Might these stresses be challenging the health and wellness of veterinarians? Before answering this, why not take a step back, and ask, but what exactly is health and wellness?