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Mental health of veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses: A scoping review

King, N., Lewis, E. G., Kinnison, T. , Langridge, A., Civai, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-6745-2074, May, S. A. & Cardwell, J. M. (2024). Mental health of veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses: A scoping review. Veterinary Record, 194(9), article number e4091. doi: 10.1002/vetr.4091


Research has shown that veterinarians around the world are at high risk of mental health problems, but far less research has examined the mental health of veterinary nurses (VNs) and student veterinary nurses (SVNs). This scoping review aimed to map existing evidence on this topic and identify knowledge gaps.

Literature searches of MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar were conducted, and a structured screening and selection procedure was applied. To be included, studies had to be peer reviewed, report relevant results specific to VNs and/or SVNs, and provide descriptive statistics if using quantitative methods.

Of the 2118 publications identified, only 13 journal articles met the inclusion criteria. The findings were summarised in five categories: mental health and wellbeing, burnout, stress, compassion fatigue and moral distress. While the findings of five of the studies suggested that some VNs and SVNs experienced some form of poor mental health, these studies lacked generalisability or transferability for multiple reasons. There was also inconsistency and ambiguity in the interpretation of findings, as well as incompatible or oversimplified definitions of mental health problems.

Our review excluded grey literature, such as reports, theses and conference presentations, as a preliminary search found very little empirical research on VNs' and SVNs' mental health in this type of publication.

More research is needed to address the gaps in the existing evidence supporting our understanding of VN and SVN mental health. This should establish baseline measures and include comparisons with other occupational and national populations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Authors. Veterinary Record published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Veterinary Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Humans, Mental Health, Burnout, Professional, Animal Technicians, Humans, Animal Technicians, Mental Health, Burnout, Professional, 0707 Veterinary Sciences, Veterinary Sciences, 3009 Veterinary sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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