Views of professionalism: a veterinary institutional perspective

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Abstract

In many western countries, there has been a marked change in the demographic profile of those entering the veterinary profession, with a shift from a predominantly male to a predominantly female intake. There have been parallel changes in society, with greater emphasis on human rights and work-life balance. It is, therefore, timely to consider what constitutes correct professional conduct for the profession, as there is the potential for problems to arise over the interpretation of ‘professionalism’ due to cultural and generational differences. A cross-section of staff and students within one veterinary institution were invited to take part in a survey exploring their prioritisation of 10 aspects of the professional role. A cluster analysis was performed, and four distinctly different profiles were established according to the views held by the cluster members. Cluster membership was found to significantly correlate to career stage, with altruism and social justice progressively giving way to professional autonomy and dominance. All four clusters in this educational environment prioritised technical and interpersonal competences above all other aspects of the professional role.

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