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The Need for Recovery: An investigation into short-term work-related fatigue in veterinary nurses

Orpet, Hilary; Foxx, Flora


Hilary Orpet

Flora Foxx


Veterinary nursing is physically and emotionally demanding, putting veterinary nurses at risk of acute work-related fatigue, with potentially negative consequences including chronic occupational syndromes such as burnout. The Need for Recovery (NFR) scale measures inter-shift fatigue and the need to recuperate from this. The growing demand for veterinary services has increased research into retention and recruitment in the profession; whilst there has been improved recognition of the impact of burnout and compassion fatigue in recent years, few studies have investigated how short-term fatigue affects individuals and their intentions to leave the profession. An anonymous online survey open to all UK-based registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) was distributed via email and social media to investigate individuals’ work patterns, hobbies outside of work, opinions and intentions to remain in the veterinary profession over the next year. An English translation of the NFR scale was used to quantify short-term work-related fatigue. The median NFR score from 387 responses was 81.8, indicating high levels of work-related fatigue in this population. Long shifts, sole-charge work and overtime were associated with higher levels of fatigue. Having additional responsibilities and hobbies outside of work were associated with lower levels of fatigue. RVNs reporting more help and support at work, better work-life balance and higher levels of work enjoyment had lower NFR scores. Whilst intentions to leave the profession are multifactorial, increasing levels of fatigue were significantly correlated with intention to leave the profession, suggesting this is an important factor in the retention of RVNs.


Orpet, H., & Foxx, F. (in press). The Need for Recovery: An investigation into short-term work-related fatigue in veterinary nurses. Veterinary Record,

Journal Article Type Other
Acceptance Date Jan 12, 2024
Online Publication Date Apr 11, 2024
Deposit Date Jul 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 15, 2024
Print ISSN 0042-4900
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Additional Information Draft status


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