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.
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.
Objective—To compare present values of expected income streams for 5 distinct veterinary medical career tracks.
Design—Present value model.
Sample Population—AVMA survey data.
Procedures—Present values of expected income streams (net of debt repayment) were created and ranked. Sensitivity to each independent variable was assessed.
Results—Career present value at 34 years after graduation (CPV34) was highest for board-certified specialist (SP; $2,272,877), followed by practice owner (PO; $2,119,596), practice owner buying into practice after 10 years (PO-10; $1,736,333), SP working three-fouths time (SP3/4; $1,702,744), and general practitioner (GP; $1,221,131). Compared with CPV34 for SP, other career tracks yielded values of 93.3% (PO), 76.4% (PO-10), 74.9% (SP3/4), and 53.7% (GP). The model was robust to debt, interest rate, loan term, and discount rate but was sensitive to mean starting incomes and mean incomes.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Greatest return on time and money invested by a veterinary student is through practicing full-time as an SP or through being a PO. Being an SP or SP3/4 was substantially more lucrative than being a GP and was comparable to being a PO. Practice ownership and working as an SP3/4 may be options for balancing financial gain with free time. Specialty training and practice ownership may be career tracks with the best potential repayment options for veterinarians with a large educational debt. Regardless of the amount of debt, the type of practice, mean incomes in a particular field, personal lifestyle, and professional interests are important factors when deciding among career tracks.
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.
All 30 US veterinary schools in 2019.
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.
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.