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Similar challenges, different approaches: a review of student support systems in UK veterinary schools
  1. K. J. Pickles, BVMS, MSc, PhD, CertEM(IntMed), DipECEIM, PGCert(CounsSkills)1,
  2. S. M. Rhind, BVMS, PhD, FRCPath, FHEA2,
  3. J. Townsend, BSc, PhD3,
  4. J. Anderson, BVM&S, MVM, PhD, MRCVS, DSAO, DECVN, FHEA4,
  5. G. Pearson, BSc, PhD, FHEA5 and
  6. R. J. Mellanby, BSc, BVMS, PhD, DSAM, DipECVIM-CA5
  1. 1Vet Med & Epidemiology,
    UC Davis, Tupper Hall, Davis,
    CA 95616, USA
  2. 2Department of Veterinary Pathology, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Roslin, UK
  3. 3Department of Anatomy, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  4. 4Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  5. 5Division of Veterinary Clinical Studies, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, University of Edinburgh, Roslin EH25 9RG, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: kpickles{at}

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The characteristics of individuals pursuing a veterinary career, and the negative impact of undergraduate training, have been suggested as possible contributing factors to poor mental wellbeing in the profession (Bartram and Baldwin 2010). Therefore, veterinary students may be a vulnerable student population (Collins and Foote 2005, Hafen and others 2006, Sutton 2007). On-site counselling services were offered at approximately half the American veterinary schools in 2001 (Kogan and McConnell 2001). The aim of this study was to collate information on support systems in UK veterinary schools.

A web-based questionnaire (Survey Monkey, Palo Alto, California, USA; freely available at was electronically delivered to the Heads of Teaching at all UK Veterinary Schools in August 2011 which contained 16 closed (10 with additional free text option) and 13 open multiple choice questions. Questions included where on campus student teaching was undertaken, the distance of the school from the main campus, and the availability and types of counselling and other support services offered.

Responses were received from all seven UK schools, although details of student support were received from only six schools. Veterinary teaching was undertaken at both the main university and a separate veterinary campus at four schools, exclusively at a separate veterinary campus at two schools and solely at the main university campus by one school. Two schools shared a campus with other schools/departments.

Counselling services …

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