Reviewing the emotional climates of student veterinary nurses completing industry placements

Helen Reynolds, Sarah Reynolds-Golding
Saturday, September 2, 2023

Background: Student veterinary nurses (SVNs) are required to complete industry placements as part of their training. Veterinary nurse education helps prepare students theoretically and practically. This study examines how SVNs, from two cohorts of a foundation degree course in veterinary nursing from one education provider, felt during their industrial placement year and whether the preparatory support was sufficient during their time in veterinary practice. Aim: There is little reporting of the emotions SVNs face prior to starting and following completion of their work placements and how educational interventions may have a positive impact on their experiences. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of SVNs' emotions pre- and post-work placement to help identify if there is a need for more targeted educational interventions during their studies to help them better prepare emotionally for the experiences they may face during their placements. Methods: An online questionnaire was given to two foundation degree level 5 SVN cohorts during placement (pre and post) in academic years 2019–20 and 2020–21. In total, 54 responses were submitted to 22 questions (pre-placement) and 41 responses to 58 questions (post-placement). Findings: The top three positive emotions were happiness, excitement and confidence. The top three negative emotions were sadness, anxiety and stress. The results indicated that students could benefit from protected time with their mentors and required clearer expectations prior to starting their industry placement and further support, particularly around animal euthanasia and building resilience. Limitations of the study included that the mid-study interventions that aimed to support the students may have impacted the results and, due to anonymity, we are unable to compare individual pre- and post-placement response rates. Conclusion: Education providers could be doing more to provide SVNs with a toolkit to becoming emotionally agile and resilient so as to help SVNs emotional wellbeing and preparatory support with their industry placement year.

Table 1. Results from one of 22 questions from the pre-placement questionnaire over two years prior to completing the industry placement year.
Table 1. Results from one of 22 questions from the pre-placement questionnaire over two years prior to completing the industry placement year.

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