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Teaching of professional skills in US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine in 2019 and comparisons with 1999 and 2009

Donna L. Harris DVM, MBA, MS1 and James W. Lloyd DVM, PhD2
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  • 1 From the College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824
  • | 2 Animal Health Economics LLC, Sears, MI 49679.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To quantify the extent that professional skills topics were presented to veterinary students at US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine (ie, veterinary schools) in 2019 and compare findings with similar data collected in 1999 and 2009.

SAMPLE

All 30 US veterinary schools in 2019.

PROCEDURES

An electronic questionnaire was sent to the associate deans for academic affairs of all 30 veterinary schools in the United States during fall of 2019. Results were compared with published results of a similar survey performed in 1999 and 2009.

RESULTS

A 100% (30/30) response rate was achieved for 2019. A total of 173 courses on professional skills topics were reported, of which 115 (66%) were required. The most common topic was communication (79/136 [58%] courses). Overall, courses were most frequently delivered in the first 3 years of the curriculum (129/158 [82%]), with required courses most common in years 1 and 2 (79/112 [71%]). Most courses (116/150 [77%]) were assigned 1 or 2 credit hours. These results represented continuation of a substantial increase in the teaching of professional skills, compared with findings for 1999 and 2009.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested a growing commitment to the teaching of professional skills on the part of US veterinary schools and the willingness to change on the basis of the current perceived needs of their graduates. The observed increases align nicely with the emerging framework for competency-based veterinary education and its substantial focus on assessing competency in professional skills as an important outcome of veterinary medical education.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To quantify the extent that professional skills topics were presented to veterinary students at US colleges and schools of veterinary medicine (ie, veterinary schools) in 2019 and compare findings with similar data collected in 1999 and 2009.

SAMPLE

All 30 US veterinary schools in 2019.

PROCEDURES

An electronic questionnaire was sent to the associate deans for academic affairs of all 30 veterinary schools in the United States during fall of 2019. Results were compared with published results of a similar survey performed in 1999 and 2009.

RESULTS

A 100% (30/30) response rate was achieved for 2019. A total of 173 courses on professional skills topics were reported, of which 115 (66%) were required. The most common topic was communication (79/136 [58%] courses). Overall, courses were most frequently delivered in the first 3 years of the curriculum (129/158 [82%]), with required courses most common in years 1 and 2 (79/112 [71%]). Most courses (116/150 [77%]) were assigned 1 or 2 credit hours. These results represented continuation of a substantial increase in the teaching of professional skills, compared with findings for 1999 and 2009.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested a growing commitment to the teaching of professional skills on the part of US veterinary schools and the willingness to change on the basis of the current perceived needs of their graduates. The observed increases align nicely with the emerging framework for competency-based veterinary education and its substantial focus on assessing competency in professional skills as an important outcome of veterinary medical education.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Harris (harrisko@msu.edu).