WSU vet students discovering keys to post-graduation success through study

Washington State University veterinary students don't just want to graduate - they want to ensure they can hit the ground running right out of school.

In their effort to learn which factors predict post-graduation success, some students are surveying the nation's veterinarians to learn specifically which skills they would like graduates to master while in school. Veterinarians will be contacted by mail and sent a link to the survey.

The data from the study could lead to refinements in educational programs that will produce new grads who offer greater immediate value to veterinary practices, said WSU veterinary student Hillary Carroll.

"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," Carroll said.

The study, funded by the AVMF and the WSU Educational Challenge Grant, is the first of its kind in the United States. There have been similar studies in Australia and the U.K., said WSU.

Over the past nearly two years, the student researchers have surveyed more than 1,000 veterinary students and 250 veterinary faculty members to learn more about skills graduates need for success in their first jobs. Now, they are focused on surveying 2,000 private practitioners, including 500 new grads, the school said.

The researchers outlined several goals for how they plan to use results from their study, including:

  • Enhance skills curricula at veterinary schools
  • Publish a high-quality, peer-reviewed study in veterinary literature
  • Augment veterinary education to improve things private practitioners desire in graduates

According to Carroll, the study should help to clear up much of the uncertainty that many students face upon graduation.

"Until we do know, we are kind of going into the profession somewhat blind," said Carroll. "We are expected to perform, but at what level?"

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