Chart of the Month: Practice ownership is linked to wellbeing

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AVMA chart of the month

Have you ever thought about becoming your own boss? Owning your own practice has numerous benefits—including some that might have slipped your consideration. 

As today’s chart shows, practice ownership may have a positive impact on wellbeing. New data from AVMA research link ownership to higher levels of wellbeing in two key areas: burnout and compassion satisfaction.

Chart of the Month: Practice ownership is linked to wellbeing

Better professional quality of life

The data come from AVMA survey questions related to professional quality of life. This research measures both positive and negative aspects of professional quality of life. On the upside, there’s the pleasure derived from being able to help patients—what’s known as compassion satisfaction. On the downside, there’s the burnout, fear, and direct or indirect trauma that can also come with helping animals and their owners. 

One key finding of AVMA’s analysis is that practice owners are more likely than associate veterinarians to have high compassion satisfaction scores and low burnout scores. 

Greater satisfaction rates overall

The higher wellbeing measurements for practice owners are also evident in comparisons with other groups beyond associates. In fact, practice owners are more likely than associates, relief veterinarians, or veterinarians in public practice to be satisfied with both their compensation and with the veterinary profession in general. And when it comes to lifestyle, the only group to rate their satisfaction higher than owners is relief veterinarians.

Other benefits

These ratings make sense if we consider the effects that other benefits of practice ownership have on wellbeing:

  • Earning more than non-specialist veterinarians: Higher salaries are associated with better wellbeing and greater satisfaction in veterinarians.
  • Paying down student debt faster than is possible in a staff role: Higher debt levels are associated with poorer wellbeing in veterinarians.
  • Having greater control over the work environment: Lower perceived control is associated with poorer wellbeing in other professional caregivers and likely in veterinarians, too.

These are just a few of the benefits that practice ownership can offer. It allows you to shape your workplace culture and practice the type of medicine that most resonates with you. What’s more, the practice itself is something that can grow and become a valuable liquid asset. 

Could practice ownership be right for you? 

If you’ve ever thought about becoming your own boss, you aren’t alone. Overall, 35% of veterinarians who don’t already own their practice are considering practice ownership. 

So what does it take? To be successful as an owner, you’ll need leadership and communication skills, business acumen, an ability to delegate, and other skills. The good news is, as an AVMA member, you have personal and professional support at your fingertips.

Resources you can draw on

The AVMA offers a wealth of resources to help you decide whether practice ownership is right for you, and to help you flourish in the role whether you’re new or experienced. Here are a few:

Dig deeper

Read more about the benefits of practice ownership in these recent articles authored by AVMA’s economics team:


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