Risk Factors Associated With Increased Ethically Challenging Situations Encountered by Veterinary Team Members During the COVID-19 Pandemic

26 Nov 2021

Ethically challenging situations (ECS) are commonly encountered in veterinary settings. The number of ECS encountered by some veterinary team members may increase during a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to determine the risk factors for experiencing an increase in the frequency of ECS in the months following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, utilizing data from a global survey of veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal health technicians collected from May to July 2020. In this study, descriptive analyses were performed to characterize veterinary team members who responded to the survey (n = 540). Binomial logistic regression analyses were performed to determine factors associated with an increase in ECS encountered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a veterinary nurse or animal health technician, working with companion animals, working in the USA or Canada, and being not confident or underconfident in dealing with ECS in the workplace were factors associated with an increase in ECS encountered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results suggest a need to explore the ECS encountered by veterinary team members, particularly veterinary nurses and animal health technicians working in companion animal practice, in depth. Identification of risk factors may facilitate better preparation of veterinary team members for managing ECS, and minimizing the negative impact of ECS on the well-being of those who care for animals.