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Veterinary nursing students and recently qualified VNs invited to attend and take part in student mental wellbeing discussion forum

On 3 November 2021, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) will host a virtual Student Veterinary Nursing Wellbeing Discussion Forum, which student VNs, recently qualified RVNs and clinical coaches are encouraged to attend.

The event has been created following the results of a recent MMI survey of 650 newly qualified and student VNs, which found that bullying, incivility, stress and lack of mental health support were cited as issues that respondents had either witnessed or been affected by.

The event will take place on Zoom from 10:00am – 3:15pm and will offer the opportunity to discuss the key challenges highlighted in the survey responses and to explore the ways in which they can be addressed.

Key discussion topics will be opened by a short presentation offered by an experienced speaker. Attendants will then move into small discussion groups where they’ll be free to share their thoughts, experiences and ideas. The topics that will be discussed throughout the day are:

  • The Mind Matters Initiative and its roles
  • Incivility and Bullying – recognition and becoming an ally
  • Juggling Demands – balancing study, work, and personal life
  • Raising Awareness and Encouraging Pride in the Veterinary Nursing Profession
  • Disability and Chronic Illness – creating inclusive environments

Angharad Belcher, RCVS Director for Advancement of the Professions and Mind Matters Director, said: “Holding the Student Veterinary Nurse Wellbeing Discussion Forum is one of the first steps in talking through the survey findings and working collaboratively with the veterinary nursing profession to discuss potential solutions and actions we can take.

“Having a range of voices and experiences present throughout the day will be key to generating constructive and forward-thinking discussions. If you have an experience that you want to share or ideas for how the profession could better support the wellbeing of veterinary nurses, then I would encourage you to register for and attend the forum.”

Jill Macdonald RVN, VN Futures Project Coordinator, said: “We have put together a varied and engaging programme for the Forum, which we are sure will provoke thoughtful discussions throughout the day. As part of the programme, we have Angharad Belcher and Lisa Quigley from the Mind Matters Initiative giving an overview of MMI and the results of their recent survey, Dr Claire Hodgson MRCVS, Alexandra Taylor RVN and Jane Davidson RVN leading the session on disability and chronic illness, Simon Flemming, a Trauma and Orthopaedic registrar, who will be heading a talk on incivility and bullying and myself and Dr Laura Woodward MRCVS will lead a session on raising awareness and encouraging pride in the veterinary nursing profession. Jane Davidson RVN will also be taking the lead on another talk, where she’ll be discussing balancing study, work, and personal life.

“After each talk, there will be time to reflect on the topics in the facilitator-supported discussion groups, and we are very much looking forward to having the opportunity for student and registered veterinary nurses to help shape the future of wellbeing issues in their profession.”

Anyone interested in attending the Student Veterinary Nursing Wellbeing Discussion Forum can register on the Eventbrite page or email to find out more information about the event.