Phd Developing A Just Culture in The Veterinary Profession

Applications are invited for a PhD position in veterinary medicine to join The University of Nottingham, UK. Candidates are welcome before January 31, 2019.

The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS) undertakes research on many key aspects of companion animals and livestock health and production.

Wherever people work, errors will occur; they are an inherent part of "being human". However, the majority of individuals do not set out to intentionally cause harm by making mistakes. Investigation of significant events frequently show that system issues have created conditions in an organisation in which errors are more likely to occur. It is frequently this that must be changed rather than trying to pin accountability on individuals.

Other safety critical industries such as aviation, nuclear power and over the last twenty years, human medicine, have employed human factors in the understanding and reduction of error with encouraging results. However, underpinning error management and the behaviour of staff is practice culture. A mature safety culture is one which values reporting, learning, is flexible and 'just', however the concept of a just culture in veterinary practice is challenging. A just culture is an environment in which trust, learning and accountability are prioritised in a respectful approach following an incident, and has been linked to outcome measures such as staff wellbeing, engagement and performance in other industries.

The project will be divided into 3 main parts to investigate the development of a just culture in veterinary practice.

This PhD project will build on previous work in patient safety and involve human factor experts. The aim of the project is to identify the barriers to the development of a just culture in veterinary practice and factors which encourage its development.

Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 undergraduate degree or a 2.2 degree and a masters degree and be a member of the Royal College of Veteriary Surgeons (MRCVS).

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Professor Kate White:

Any queries regarding the process should be addressed to


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