The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and British Veterinary Chronic Illness Support (BVCIS) are calling upon veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and students to take part in an upcoming survey into disability and chronic illness within the veterinary sector. The research aims to gather a range of perspectives on the subject, and you do not have to be disabled or chronically ill to complete the survey.
The survey, entitled ‘Disability and Chronic Illness in Veterinary Work and Veterinary Education,’ will be carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) – a leading independent centre for research and evidence-based consultancy in employment and related areas – on behalf of the RCVS and BVCIS, to support the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. The aim of the survey is to provide a better understanding of the views, experiences and challenges faced by disabled and chronically ill people within veterinary and provide insight into how the veterinary professions and educational institutions can be more inclusive.
The survey will take around 20 minutes to complete and participants will be able to save their progress and come back to submit their responses as and when they wish.
Claire Hodgson, director and co-founder of BVCIS, said: “The launch of this joint survey into the experiences of veterinary professionals and students living, working and studying with disability and chronic illness is of vital importance.
“Working in the veterinary professions with a chronic illness or disability can be hugely challenging, but there is currently a knowledge gap in terms of understanding exactly where the problems lie.
“A 2019 RCVS survey of the professions found that around 6.7% of vets and 7.4% of RVNs have a disability or medical condition that limits work that they can do, but the true figures are likely to be much higher. No reliable data for veterinary students currently exists.
“The purpose of this survey is to close that knowledge gap and help us understand how we can better support disabled and chronically ill people in the workplace and education to create a more inclusive working culture.
“Those living with disability and chronic illness are often hugely resourceful and fantastic problem solvers because of the day-to-day challenges they have had to learn to overcome. They have a great deal to contribute to the sector, and it is important that they feel valued and respected and have access to the tools they need to thrive.
“Diversity makes the workforce stronger, so we are calling on as many different people as possible from across the veterinary community to complete our survey so that, together, we can help create a more inclusive workplace for all.”
The ‘Disability and Chronic Illness in Veterinary Work and Veterinary Education’ survey is due to launch imminently and will be circulated via email to all RCVS registered veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and student veterinary nurses. For veterinary students, instructions on how to access the survey will be circulated via their educational institutions. Additionally, information posters will be shared on social media by RCVS, BVCIS and other veterinary organisations.
All survey responses will be completely confidential, and results will only be analysed and reported at a level that does not allow identification of individuals in any way. Completed surveys will not be seen by anyone at the RCVS or BVCIS – the IES will send through a report with key research findings to both the RCVS and BVCIS after the survey has closed.
Further details about the project will be released in due course.