Vocation, Belongingness, and Balance: A Qualitative Study of Veterinary Student Well-Being.

Journal article


Cardwell, J and Lewis, E. (2017). Vocation, Belongingness, and Balance: A Qualitative Study of Veterinary Student Well-Being. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 44 (1), pp. 29-37.
AuthorsCardwell, J and Lewis, E.
Abstract

An elevated risk for suicide among veterinarians has stimulated research into the mental health of the veterinary profession, and more recently attention has turned to the veterinary student population. This qualitative study sought to explore UK veterinary students' perceptions and experiences of university life, and to consider how these may affect well-being. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 students from a single UK school who were purposively selected to include perspectives from male, female, graduate-entry, standard-entry (straight from high school), and widening participation students across all 5 years of the program. Three main themes were identified: a deep-rooted vocation, navigating belongingness, and finding balance. Participants described a long-standing goal of becoming a veterinarian, with a determination reflected by often circuitous routes to veterinary school and little or no consideration of alternatives. Although some had been motivated by a love of animals, others were intrinsically interested in the scientific and problem-solving challenges of veterinary medicine. Most expressed strong feelings of empathy with animal owners. The issue of belongingness was central to participants' experiences, with accounts reflecting their efforts to negotiate a sense of belongingness both in student and professional communities. Participants also frequently expressed a degree of acceptance of poor balance between work and relaxation, with indications of a belief that this imbalance could be rectified later. This study helps highlight future avenues for research and supports initiatives aiming to nurture a sense of collegiality among veterinary students as they progress through training and into the profession.

KeywordsHumans; Attitude of Health Personnel; Mental Health; Education, Veterinary; Schools, Veterinary; Students, Medical; Adolescent; Adult; England; Female; Male; Young Adult; admissions; curriculum; student affairs; student health; well-being; Adolescent; Adult; Attitude of Health Personnel; Education, Veterinary; England; Female; Humans; Male; Mental Health; Schools, Veterinary; Students, Medical; Young Adult; Veterinary Sciences; Specialist Studies In Education; Curriculum And Pedagogy; Veterinary Sciences
Year2017
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Journal citation44 (1), pp. 29-37
PublisherLondon South Bank University
ISSN0748-321X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.3138/jvme.0316-055R
Publication dates
Print28 Feb 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Oct 2017
Accepted28 Feb 2017
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open
Permalink -

https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/8704w

Accepted author manuscript

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