The Horse

SEP 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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30 TheHorse.com THE HORSE September 2018 certain way … they start feeling the pinch, not having enough time, and it's harder to go back." Lack of work-life balance can inevitably shift to burnout, says Rob Franklin, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, a partner at three Texas veterinary practices (Guardia Equine Sports Medicine, in Houston, Freder- icksburg Equine Veterinary Services, and Stephenville Equine Sports Medicine) and managing partner at Full Bucket, a business with a strong charity component, in Dennis. He says there's stress no matter your station in the profession. "I guess I have many perspectives: business owner, employee, entrepreneur, clinician, board member, volunteer, and equitarian," says Franklin, the latter role involving volunteering time to help care for horses in remote areas lacking veteri- nary resources. "Those 'hats' definitely allow me the opportunity to test many of my biases with the different colleagues I interact with. "Eliminating debt certainly was the key to me developing meaning to my life and career and choosing how I would spend my time. I used to think work-life balance meant 'work hard, play hard.' I did lots of that and continue to enjoy work and play. But that's not balance. Balance is getting to do what is fulfilling to you in your work and personal life. When you are in debt, you don't have the liberty to follow your dreams. You are literally a slave to it. "Burnout was the biggest for me 10 years ago after internship and residency and saying yes to everybody and every- thing in order to grow my business," he says. "Now, I get stressed about human resource issues. Keeping your team mo- tivated, engaged, and feeling fulfilled is a real challenge." Charlotte Hansen, MS, is an equine economist at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in Scha- umburg, Illinois. "Based on AVMA data, burnout scores (using the ProQOL self- score method) measure just one aspect of mental health—how one feels about their work—and does not include the many other dimensions that constitute the full spectrum of mental health," she says. "While on average, burnout scores were in the low normal range for equine practitioners, there are of course other reasons that affect mental health that are not measured and could play a part in burnout. There is reason to believe that burnout is a cause of equine practitioner attrition, but more research is needed." Feeling 'Trapped' Jeremiah Easley, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, after completing an internship and a surgical residency, is co-director of the Preclinical Surgical Research Laboratory at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sci- ences, in Fort Collins. He considers him- self fortunate to have trained and worked in equine practices and universities that value work-life balance and foster healthy working relationships. However, he says he knows classmates and colleagues who have been less fortunate. Easley explains that many individuals in the profession have directed their lives toward becoming veterinarians, "and they have in their mind a particular dream or fantasy about what veterinary medicine's going to be like." If a veterinarian joins a new practice and is not able to take part in important change or do something they're passionate about doing, it can be very stressful. In such a situation, "I think not only are you trapped in your position, but you're trapped by debt," he says. "You've been driven to make it to veterinary school, the next goal is to acquire a DVM and then put your knowledge to work. At that point you may land in a position where you feel like your hands are tied and/or you are unable to practice veterinary medicine the way you may want or have been trained. The dilemma becomes, 'Well, I'd like to leave, but I owe $300,000 to the govern- ment, how can this work?' That can be extremely stressful on veterinarians." As notoriously goal-driven people, vets, Intensive Care COURTESY AAEP Dr. Margo Macpherson has learned to juggle her job as a veterinary professor and AAEP president with family time and personal commitments. See how the AAEP president achieves work-life balance at TheHorse.com/159601

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