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Aust Vet J ; 100(6): 243-253, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685211


BACKGROUND: Sickness presenteeism in the veterinary profession potentially jeopardises the wellbeing of veterinary team members and endangers quality of patient care. In veterinary team members with influenza-like illness (ILI), sickness presenteeism poses a risk to the health and wellbeing of colleagues and clients, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to evaluate factors associated with sickness presenteeism in NSW registered veterinarians suffering from ILI, both before and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Veterinarians registered in NSW were invited to complete an anonymous online mixed-methods survey between 31 March 2021 and 31 June 2021, regarding sickness presenteeism and absenteeism associated with ILI. The questionnaire was distributed through online and print newsletters of the Australian Veterinary Association NSW Branch and the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board. RESULTS: From a total of 122 participants, 81 veterinarians (66.4%) reported that they would attend work despite displaying symptoms of ILI. Most veterinarians would stay at home with a fever alone (n = 108, 88.5%), however, many would still attend work with a sore throat (n = 121, 99.2%) or a dry cough (n = 91, 74.6%). Sickness presenteeism was significantly associated with lack of staff to cover workers. Although sickness presenteeism remained common, participants reported that they were less likely to attend work with symptoms of ILI since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. DISCUSSION: The data are discussed in relation to sickness presenteeism in healthcare workers. These findings underscore an urgent need for relief staff to decrease sickness presenteeism.

COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Veterinarians , Animals , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , New South Wales/epidemiology , Pandemics , Presenteeism , Surveys and Questionnaires
Aust Vet J ; 100(1-2): 79-81, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467540


The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions have caused major changes in veterinary practice. Utilising a subset of qualitative data from a global survey of 540 veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal health technicians, we highlight the impact of these changes on communication in veterinary clinical practice. Communication challenges experienced by veterinary team members included lack of face-to-face contact with clients; increased difficulty in communicating in general; inability to demonstrate physical examination, diagnostic findings or treatment information to clients; difficulty in communicating while wearing personal protective equipment; increased 'miscommunication' and challenges in convincing clients of the importance of pandemic-associated protocols. These findings suggest a need for veterinary teams to modify and adapt their communication strategies to facilitate effective communication where social distancing and noncontact consultations are required.

COVID-19 , Veterinarians , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Communication , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2