NI veterinary hospital urges clients to be considerate
Led by psychologists at the University of Aberdeen the research looked at both client and co-worker incivility towards vets and veterinary nurses based across the UK and Ireland.
It follows previous studies which have highlighted aggressive clients as a stressor for vets working alone, particularly when working on-call or at night.
Dr Amy Irwin from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Psychology led the research. She said: “Previous studies have looked at incidents of aggression but we wanted to establish the impact of low-level but more regular adverse behaviour towards veterinarians, how this is affecting their work and mental health and how they can be supported.
“The first study highlighted the importance of client behaviour, with veterinarians reporting that experiencing multiple instances of client rudeness could lead to them withdrawing from clients, either through reducing working hours or on-call commitments, or via a change in career focus.
“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.”