Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Community & Leadership Development

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Community and Leadership Development

First Advisor

Dr. Kristina Hains


Suicide, stress, and burnout are occurring at high rates among veterinary professionals, and the transition from student to practicing veterinarian has been shown to be a particularly stressful time. The aim of this study was to evaluate an online professional development program for new veterinary graduates incorporating peer social support and training in professional skills important for success in the transition to practice. In this mixed methods study, the program was evaluated qualitatively with focus group data and quantitatively by assessing knowledge gained and levels of stress, burnout, social support, and well-being. Seven new veterinary graduates participated in the program, and 31 new veterinary graduates participated in the waitlist control group. Prior to the program, the mean stress level of all veterinarians in the study was found to be significantly higher than the mean stress level of a similarly aged cohort of the general population. After participation in the program, the mean exhaustion level, a component of burnout, was significantly lower for program participants as compared to the control group. The themes arising from the focus group suggested that the program provided an important support network and improvements were reported in self-awareness, self-care, communication skills, and decision making.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This publication or project was supported by the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health & Injury Prevention (SCAHIP) through Grant 6U54OH007547 in 2019 to 2020. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).