Factors influencing undergraduate attitudes and decision making regarding a career in production animal practice

Payne, Emily (2024) Factors influencing undergraduate attitudes and decision making regarding a career in production animal practice. MVM thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The objective of the research discussed in this thesis was to determine what influences undergraduate veterinary students’ attitudes when considering farm animal practice as a future career discipline and how these factors are influenced by experiences gained during students’ time as an undergraduate at veterinary school. This research is of relevance during this time of change within the veterinary profession; with increasing numbers of students being offered the opportunity to study veterinary medicine but an undeniable recruitment and retention crisis within the wider profession.

An online survey, distributed to students at all veterinary schools in the UK and Ireland at the time, elicited 1146 responses. Thematic analysis revealed seven themes within the free text data: relationships, preferences and interests, perception of fit, direct experience, fear, ethics and values and lifestyle. Descriptive data analysis revealed the most common factors influencing first job expectation, regardless of anticipated first discipline, were personal interest and extra mural studies (EMS). Respondents anticipating a career involving some farm work also valued previous work experience. Although there were significant differences from respondents depending on their anticipated first career choice (p<0.001) working hours/out of hours were consistently identified as barriers when considering a farm animal career. Salary was also considered negatively by respondents considering a career in farm animal practice; whereas respondents not intending to do any farm animal work on graduation selected working conditions and working with farmers/within the agricultural industry.

The work presented within this thesis demonstrates clearly factors that influence undergraduate choice when considering a career in farm animal practice. Evidently species preference will always be involved in decision making however, there are several other considerations influencing this decision. The profession needs to work towards excluding any barriers that undergraduates feel prevent individuals pursing a farm animal career. EMS has been presented as highly influential and is an ideal opportunity to develop experiential learning, whilst facilitating open conversations between veterinary professionals and future generations. These conversations must be unbiased, factually accurate and transparent, allowing undergraduates to freely discuss any concerns they may have regarding farm animal careers.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MVM)
Supervisors: Remnant, John
Hudson, Chris
Keywords: Veterinary students; Farm animal practice; Career
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Item ID: 76927
Depositing User: Payne, Emily
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2024 09:09
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2024 09:09
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/76927

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