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Changes in teaching of nontechnical skills, knowledge, aptitudes, and attitudes at US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine between 1999 and 2009

Donna L. Harris DVM, MBA1 and James W. Lloyd DVM, PhD2
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  • 1 Office of the Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 2 Office of the Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Abstract

Objective—To identify changes in the teaching of nontechnical skills, knowledge, aptitudes, and attitudes (SKAs) at US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine between 1999 and 2009.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample—All 28 US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine.

Procedures—An electronic questionnaire was sent to the entire study population. Results were compared with published results of a similar survey performed in 1999 of colleges and schools of veterinary medicine in the United States and Canada.

Results—A 100% response rate was achieved. All respondents were found to offer at least 1 course related to SKAs in 2009, compared with 94% (29/31) of respondents in 1999. A total of 110 such courses were documented, compared with 47 in 1999. In 2009, 26 of the 28 (93%) colleges and schools had at least 1 course related to SKAs that was required, compared with 17 of the 31 (55%) respondents to the 1999 survey. Courses were most commonly incorporated in years 1 and 3 of the curriculum and were most often valued at 1 or 2 credit hours. Forty-one of 67 (61%) courses had been developed since 1999. The most common topics were communication and financial management.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results demonstrated an increased commitment to teaching the SKAs on the part of the US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine. However, the question remains as to how effective these initiatives will be in enhancing the economic success of graduates and the veterinary medical profession in general.

Contributor Notes

Supported by gifts from CareCredit and Merial and through the support and collaboration of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and its member institutions.

Address correspondence to Dr. Lloyd (lloydj@cvm.msu.edu).