A new survey carried out by VET Festival and Centaur Services has revealed that 91% of those working in the veterinary profession are proud to do so, and the majority (53%) feel part of a respected community.

Of the remaining 47% of the 386 veterinary surgeons, nurses, rehabilitation professionals, practice managers, assistants and students who took part in the online survey, 29% expressed uncertainty about whether the profession is respected, and 18% said they do not feel part of a respected community. 

Of those who do not feel part of a respected community, social media bashing and the accusation that you're only in it for the money emerged as repeated explanations.

However, remarks from those who said they DO feel respected included:

  • "People are always impressed when you say you work in veterinary."

  • "As a professional clients have a certain respect towards me and I feel like a valued member of the community. People always want to talk to the vet in social situations because we have such a fascinating profession."

  • "People recognise the hard work to reach the role as a vet and appreciate helping their four-legged family members greatly."

  • "Having built up longstanding relationships with clients over the years, I feel we have a great sense of belonging. We support local events and get lots of positive feedback on social media etc." 

When asked whether their vocation in veterinary medicine was all that they thought it would be, 51% of respondents said yes. Of the others, the three most common reasons why their career had not met expectations were: "Low work-life balance", "Financial concerns" and "High demands from clients".

The three things respondents most aspired to were: "Healthy work-life balance" (81%), Making a difference to the lives of animals" (81%), and "Continue to develop my skills" (78%).

When asked what three things respondents would like to change about the profession, 48% said "Client expectations", 46% said "Recognition as a valued role in society" and 46% said "Financial package".

Founder of VET Festival, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick said: "Despite being part of a profession that feels the stresses and strains of failure, financial pressure, difficult relationships, self-confidence, and even fear on a day-to-day basis, it is heartening to see that collectively we still absolutely find a deep sense of fulfilment and pride in what we do.

"Despite the many challenges we face in our vocation, if there is one thing we can learn from these findings, it is that we are all in it together. We cannot be the best version of ourselves without recognising a common sense of purpose and a desire to support each other, in whatever guise as veterinary professionals.

"We give so much of ourselves in companion animal practice to looking after our patients and the families who love them, we sometimes need to remind ourselves of the need to look after ourselves too and most importantly to look after each other as colleagues and friends sharing the same journey, passion, challenges and responsibilities.

This message is integral to the ethos and interactive learning streams of VET Festival 2018."