Veterinary students and veterinarians are reported to experience high rates of stress, anxiety, and depression. The models of relationship-centered care and OneHealth both recognize the impact of practitioner-self relationship on the outcomes of care. Thus, finding ways to support the mental health of members of the veterinary profession is critical.  

To develop and implement curricular skills, knowledge, and attributes that support veterinary student wellness and resilience, with the goal of equipping students with the tools to thrive in their lives following graduation.   Methods: An experiential learning model was used, with interactive sessions and an emphasis placed on student discussion and engagement. Content was based on two primary concepts, emotional intelligence and eight wellness dimensions. Combined with leadership activities, session topics included personal values, strengths, boundaries, assertiveness, self-compassion, yoga, nutrition, money management, meaning and purpose, mind-body techniques, and self-care. Reflection questions were assigned daily to stimulate thought and support content integration.  

Research into the effectiveness of the rotation is currently underway. Initial feedback from rotation evaluations indicates that students found the rotation to be beneficial (e.g. “We were taught valuable life skills that will help us not only be better veterinarians but also be better happier versions of ourselves”). Students have recommended the rotation to their peers, and the second year of the rotation has experienced an increase in student enrolment.  

Preliminary results indicate that the provision of a final year rotation focused on skills that support resilience is a valuable addition to the veterinary curriculum.

*BEST, Colleen1 CONLON, Peter2 JONES-BITTON, Andria1
1. Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
2. Dean's Office, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada