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Burnout: do you know the signs?

Updated: Apr 23

The WHO has included burnout among occupational diseases, and its prevention is part of the obligations of employers (Law on Safety at Work).

The symptoms of burnout can be summarised in three categories:

  1. Depersonalisation (moral distance from the work environment and cynicism)

  2. Sense of failure (or lack of professional effectiveness)

  3. Lack of energy (especially emotionally)

Practically, burnout can cause "presenteeism" or absenteeism, sleep and immune system disorders, demotivation and isolation.

The Maslach Burnout Inventory is usually the most used questionnaire to evaluate symptoms related to burnout (you can find it with a simple Google search).

We do not know the consequences of burnout in the veterinary-patient relationship and the exact prevalence in our profession. Still, a study at the University of Davis, California, highlighted high burnout levels in internal residents and clinicians.


How can we prevent it?

  • Remove/diminish the specific cause of burnout (if known) - personal + organisational.

  • Know the symptoms to seek help as soon as possible

  • Mindfulness

  • Know and define your boundaries and communicate them to the rest of the team.



Chigerwe, M., Barter, L., Dechant, JE, Dear, JD and Boudreaux, KA, 2021. A preliminary study on assessment of wellbeing among veterinary medical house officers. PloS one, 16(6), p.e0253111.

Maslach C, Schaufeli W, Leiter M. Job burnout. Annu Rev Psychol 2001; 52:397–422

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In case of emergency, contact 911. The following contacts offer 24-hour telephone assistance:

Vetlife 004403030402551

Samaritans 0044116123

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