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Veterinary human support

02 May 2024
8 mins read
Volume 15 · Issue 4


Terms such as veterinary human factors, veterinary humanities and veterinary social work have all begun to circulate in the veterinary profession in recent years. This article defines these topics and suggests the term ‘veterinary human support’ as a useful umbrella term, and describes the reasons for implementing support. Suggestions for developing these roles are included, especially from the perspective of the veterinary nursing career.

Veterinary human support is a useful umbrella term and can include anything related to supporting people in veterinary roles, from recruitment and training, through to workplace support and career development.

In recent years, many terms incorporating the word ‘human’ have appeared in conversations about the veterinary industry. Veterinary human factors, veterinary humanities, veterinary social work, veterinary human support – what do these all mean? Are they all different, or just different terms for the same thing? This article attempts to clarify what these terms mean, bring them together under the banner of veterinary human support, and to show how they might have a substantial impact on the role of the veterinary nurse.

We will start with veterinary human factors. This term comes directly from the concept of clinical human factors in medicine, defined as:

‘Human factors are organisational, individual, environmental, and job characteristics that influence behaviour in ways that can impact safety in clinical and healthcare contexts that means lives are at stake.’ (Ives and Hillier, 2015)

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