Background: Burnout among veterinary students can result from known stressors in the absence of a support system. The objectives of this study were to evaluate use of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educator Survey (MBI-ES) to assess burnout in veterinary students and evaluate the factors that predict the MBI-ES scores. Methods: The MBI-ES was administered to first (Class of 2016) and second year (Class of 2015) veterinary medical students during the 2012-2013 academic year in the fall and spring semesters. Factor analysis and test reliability for the survey were determined. Mean scores for the subscales determining burnout namely emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and lack of personal accomplishment (PA) were calculated for both classes in the 2 semesters. Multiple regression analysis was performed to evaluate other factors that predict the MBI-ES scores. Results: A non-probability sampling method was implemented consisting of a voluntary sample of 170 and 123 students in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Scores for EE, DP and PA were not different between the 2 classes within the same semester. Mean ± SD scores for EE, DP and PA for the fall semester were 22.9 ± 9.6, 5.0 ± 4.8 and 32.3 ± 6.7, respectively. Mean ± SD scores for EE, DP and PA the spring semester were 27.8 ± 10.7, 6.5 ± 6.1and 31.7 ± 6.8, respectively. The EE score was higher in spring compared to fall while DP and PA scores were not different between the 2 semesters. Living arrangements specifically as to whether or not a student lived with another veterinary medical students was the only variable significantly associated with the MBI-ES scores. Students in this study had moderate levels of burnout based on the MBI-ES scores. Conclusions: The MBI-ES was an acceptable instrument for assessing burnout in veterinary medical students. The EE scores were higher in the spring semester as compared to the fall semester. Thus students in the first and second years of veterinary school under the current curriculum experience the greatest levels of emotional exhaustion during the spring semester. This has administrative implications for the school, when considering the allocation and use of resources for student support systems during each semester.
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