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Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons

Valley Vets, Cardiff

Staff management in general and attention to Wellbeing in particular is arguably harder for medium sized practices who are too large to give every member of staff undivided attention, but not large enough to employ more management staff and delegate. At Valley Vets, the wellbeing agenda is led by Practice Manager, Nichi Tanner, although at times, looking after her team has put pressure on her own wellbeing.

Nichi says she has always felt very well supported by her bosses, but even so, at times she knows she allowed herself to become too involved. She became the ‘go to’ person for anyone with stress problems or other worries and found that staff were calling and messaging her out of hours. She has learnt the importance of stepping back and not trying to solve everyone’s problems, but instead has tried to create an environment where people feel able to talk with the knowledge of when and where to point them for help.

Nichi went on a RCVS Mind Matters Initiatve first aid training course. She was really impressed and so invited the trainer into the practice. She was amazed at the response with almost the whole practice turning up to an evening session. This created a better understanding of mental health and helped tackle stigma. It gave out a clear message that this is a practice where it is okay to admit if you are not coping. What came across in the training session was that many of the staff had direct experience of someone close to them, a family member or a friend, who had experienced mental health problems.

Quote from member of the team following the training:

The main benefit of having done the course is awareness. The bonus of doing it as a practice group is that you get an automatic feeling of togetherness which is hugely helpful, bearing in mind a feeling of isolation tends to be a big factor in depression and anxiety.

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