Veterinary career ambitions correlate with gender and past experience, with current experience influencing curricular perspectives

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Abstract

The Royal Veterinary College's ‘Teaching Quality Survey’ was completed by 261 recent graduates (six months after graduation) from 2005 to 2011 (26.8 per cent response rate). The results were used to compare veterinarians' background information with current position and career ambition, and to investigate perceptions of curriculum balance. There was a significant difference between males' and females' current positions and career ambitions with comparatively lower percentages of females in farm animal and farm and equine practices. There was also a significant difference between individuals from different childhood areas; individuals from urban areas preferred small animal practice, in comparison to those from rural areas who are more likely to choose farm animal practices. Compared with their peers, individuals engaged in a specific area of work tend to think that their area was under-represented in the professional curriculum. Taken alongside the feminisation and urbanisation of the profession, the results of this study indicate that food animal careers need to be promoted as an attractive option for new graduates and those going into mixed practice initially. Also, those involved in curriculum design using graduate surveys should take into account the current careers of the respondents in order to avoid biased results.

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