TO help make their education as relevant to the profession as possible, Washington State University (WSU) veterinary students will survey veterinarians nationwide to assess their expectations of new graduates' abilities.
"This is their opportunity to potentially help change the level of performance they can expect from a new hire in their practice," WSU senior veterinary student Hillary Carroll said. "We need that input."
This is the first study of its type conducted in the U.S., Carroll said, but similar studies have been done in the U.K. and Australia. The immediate goal is to encourage as many private-practice veterinarians as possible to respond to the survey to ensure statistical validity.
"We'd really like to conclusively determine just what is expected of us on the first day we begin practice by the people who hire us," she said.
Veterinarians will be contacted by mail with a link to the survey, the announcement said.
The study's goals are to use the information to enhance surgical skill curricula at veterinary schools, produce a peer-reviewed study to be published in the veterinary literature and ensure that the quality of training in veterinary medicine will meet or exceed the expectations of private practitioners, WSU said.
"Until we do know (what the expectations are), we are kind of going into the profession somewhat blind," Carroll said. "We are expected to perform, but at what level?"
For almost two years, the WSU students have conducted nationwide, faculty-mentored, scientific surveys of more than 1,000 veterinary students and 250 veterinary faculty members about the skills graduates need in order to be successful in their first jobs. Their new target is 2,000 private practitioners, including 500 new veterinary graduates.
Funded by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and WSU Educational Challenge Grant, the survey will help determine expectations of new graduates so veterinary schools can produce graduates who meet those expectations, the announcement explained.