Peer Support in Veterinary Practice

This course is aimed at practicing vets who are looking to gain the personal resources and skills to psychologically support themselves and their colleagues within this demanding profession.

Course Content

This course is worth 36 hours of CPD

The course has two components: an initial training of 30 hours, followed by fortnightly reflective practice groups for the remainder of the year (excluding April, August and December). The teaching is largely experiential.

The skills learned through the training include: high level communication skills, being a good listener, helping others to make decisions without giving advice, assertiveness and managing and communicating about sensitive issues. An emphasis is placed on learning to monitor your own wellbeing and limits within the supportive situation, and when best to refer on the person to whom you are giving support.

Reflective Practice

Post training we will continue to meet as a group for Reflective Practice. This will provide you with a space to reflect on your experiences of supporting others and develop and enhance your skills. Additionally these meetings will provide regular support and continuing personal development for the group members.

What you can expect to gain from joining your training group?

  • Friendship and support within the group
  • A wide range of transferable skills in listening, communicating and relating to others 
  • Increased self-awareness, confidence, and self-esteem 
  • A greater ability to manage your time, set boundaries, and care for yourself 

The following are comments from University of Liverpool Peer Support Alumni regarding their use of peer support skills in the workplace

“I have been able to offer support to colleagues who are struggling inside and outside of the workplace by using the skills I learnt through Peer Support training. Improved listening skills have helped others to offload their worries/concerns. People have commented how much better they feel to just talk about their worries and get them off their chest and they have said they feel a sense of relief. I am in a better position to help others after realising I need to look after myself initially; this is something I learnt from Peer Support. I have a better understanding of how I am feeling and when I am able to help others”.

“My first real job made me learn a lot practically but also mentally. I had to flag myself and self refer for help with mental health issues. But I also found myself often sitting and talking to the student nurses who were having a bad time of it at work. I would try to help them problem solve by listening to their problems, reflecting them back and try to figure out ways of how to combat these issues between us. I would like to think I was well liked by the student nurses and was someone approachable that they could come to and talk or let off steam or be a shoulder to cry on.”

“My communication with clients has improved and teamwork skills have been invaluable when working in a busy small animal practice. I’m much more accepting of my mistakes and failures and am no longer a perfectionist, I’m learning that I’m only human and cannot be right in every case, in doing so I’ve been honest with clients and have found that most of them are actually supportive when you explain you were wrong or have made a mistake.”

“I am better aware of when I am exhausted and when I have compassion fatigue. Before peer support training, I probably would not have recognised these problems and carried on until the point of exhaustion. I am much more able to speak to colleagues about the more difficult aspects of working life and this helps with realising when times are stressful and has helped me manage them better. I am a sociable person anyway but Peer Support has encouraged me to try and engage with all types of people and make them feel included, i.e. organising fun work events where everyone can join in to de-stress.”