RVC researchers are conducting a much-needed investigation of mental health and wellbeing amongst RVNs and SVNs, aiming to identify issues that can be changed to provide better support.


Whilst extensive research has been conducted into the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary surgeons and veterinary students, far less has explored this topic with veterinary nurses (VNs) and student veterinary nurses (SVNs). Despite similarities in training and workplaces, differences in the history, context, education paths, and responsibilities between veterinary and veterinary nursing professions necessitate a separate study of factors that may negatively impact VNs and SVNs.

Additionally, since the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the UK veterinary profession’s regulatory body, recognised veterinary nursing as a profession in 2015, there has been an increased need to understand mental health challenges facing this population due to the higher responsibility and accountability involved.

‘Nursing Matters’ is a two-year mixed-methods project, led by the RVC’s Dr Tierney Kinnison, Lecturer in Veterinary Education, and Dr Jackie Cardwell, Associate Professor in Epidemiology, which will provide important benchmark estimates of UK RVN and SVN mental health and wellbeing, as well as exploring the factors surrounding these. The study aims to identify issues relating to the workplace or educational institutions that can be changed to support better RVN and SVN wellbeing, and to inform the development of supportive and effective clinical teams.

The first part of the study involves an anonymous 20–25 minute questionnaire designed to gain in-depth insights into how and why RVNs and SVNs may experience poor mental health.

If you are an RVN or SVN, and are willing to help us by sharing your views and experiences, the questionnaire can be accessed here.

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