Dutch veterinarians not working in veterinary practice: Competencies, motivations and characteristics
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Introduction and rationale The purpose of this study was to obtain information about veterinarians that have a career outside, or besides, veterinary private practice. The information obtained can be used to assess the veterinary professional framework, to manage career expectations of veterinary students and to show, both students and veterinarians, what career options are possible. Methodology A questionnaire was developed and emailed to all Dutch veterinarians working outside veterinary private practice. Responses were collected anonymously and results were expressed numerically where possible, but in words where needed since some of the questions allowed textual responses. Results 1. Most of the participants worked in industry, government and education. The most common positions were veterinary inspector, manager and researcher. The big majority of the functions was still related to veterinary medicine. 2. In a ranking that has been made, the competency domains collaboration and personal development were seen as the most important, followed by entrepreneurship, communication, health and welfare, evidence based veterinary medicine and veterinary expertise . Required competency profiles vary according to the job description; therefore no fixed set of competencies which is applicable to every position outside of veterinary practice could be given. a. Settings where skills and knowledge were obtained varied between the different competency domains. In general the competencies were developed either in post graduate education or (semi)government. The veterinary curriculum was not perceived as the most important occasion in any of the given items. 3. The most important motivations to pursue a career outside veterinary practice were possibilities for self-development, a good balance between work and private life, a bigger challenge and working in a multi-disciplinary environment. Conclusion The group studied was working in greatly diverse organisations and positions, mostly in industry, government and education. The majority had clinical experience and advises to gain some experience in veterinary practice before pursuing a different career. The primary motivation for a non-clinical career was not that veterinary practice is seen as negative, but that the opportunities outside are more interesting compared to the clinical career. The competencies needed outside veterinary practice do not necessarily need to diverge substantially from those needed in veterinary private practice. However, outside veterinary practice the importance of different domains may be different.