Creating a Curriculum Focused on Preventing Burnout


The other thing we're doing is we're spending time and energy looking at it, trying to study that problem. And one of the things that I've been involved in with some people in my office-especially Stephanie Johnson who's a faculty member at LSU is a social worker and has been with us for 25 years, one of the first social workers really within veterinary education-and we've been looking at surveys that try to define how deep does that problem go within our students but also within our alumni. And we've been finding some really interesting things. but the triggers all seem to be the same. Whether you're in in practice or whether you're in school as a student, it really seems to be this idea that you're not as good as you think you should be and you're not as good as those around you, which is most of the time completely false. But it's this feeling that these people that are high achievers and have always been high achievers are having difficulty seeing themselves as achieving what they expect themselves to be within this environment, whether it's school or practice, and that really sets them up I think for depression and anxiety. And those are the things that often set them up for suicidal ideation.

I think it's an increasing problem, but I don't think it's as much of an increasing problem as it would seem if you just look at statistics. I think it's always been there. I think we just recognize it more because we're starting to look at it. You know if you never look, you'll never find. And now we're looking. I think that part of it is that I think it's always been there it's just now being recognized more. But I'd also think that there are generational differences, there are parenting differences that have resulted in a student that's coming into our programs now that may be less resilient than the student that was coming into our programs 25 or 30 years ago. And that's just an impression that I have, I don't know that that's really true, but it's an impression that I have that the resilience may not be quite as high. And if the resilience isn't as high it kind of magnifies some of those other things."

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Joseph Taboada, DVM, DACVIM, professor and associate dean at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, shares what he and his colleagues at LSU are doing to help support the well-being of their veterinary students.

"What are we doing from a curriculum standpoint to try to help the students recognize, you know, some of the issues that are so important in terms of well-being and wellness within the profession? And there are a number of different things we're doing. One, we've built a lot of things into the curriculum as a whole and in various different places. We have a number of courses that are specifically designed to that, which, at this point in time are elective courses. So, not all of the students will necessarily take those, but the student that really feels like they have that need because of whatever is going on in their lives that that opportunity is is certainly there.

The other thing we're doing is we're spending time and energy looking at it, trying to study that problem. And one of the things that I've been involved in with some people in my office-especially Stephanie Johnson who's a faculty member at LSU is a social worker and has been with us for 25 years, one of the first social workers really within veterinary education-and we've been looking at surveys that try to define how deep does that problem go within our students but also within our alumni. And we've been finding some really interesting things. but the triggers all seem to be the same. Whether you're in in practice or whether you're in school as a student, it really seems to be this idea that you're not as good as you think you should be and you're not as good as those around you, which is most of the time completely false. But it's this feeling that these people that are high achievers and have always been high achievers are having difficulty seeing themselves as achieving what they expect themselves to be within this environment, whether it's school or practice, and that really sets them up I think for depression and anxiety. And those are the things that often set them up for suicidal ideation.

I think it's an increasing problem, but I don't think it's as much of an increasing problem as it would seem if you just look at statistics. I think it's always been there. I think we just recognize it more because we're starting to look at it. You know if you never look, you'll never find. And now we're looking. I think that part of it is that I think it's always been there it's just now being recognized more. But I'd also think that there are generational differences, there are parenting differences that have resulted in a student that's coming into our programs now that may be less resilient than the student that was coming into our programs 25 or 30 years ago. And that's just an impression that I have, I don't know that that's really true, but it's an impression that I have that the resilience may not be quite as high. And if the resilience isn't as high it kind of magnifies some of those other things."

View related videos and articles on our website: https://www.VMDToday.com.
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