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Graduates score highly in empathy, survey finds
Survey respondents noted that graduates had excellent empathy with clients and animals.
Veterinary employers score graduates on competencies  

A new survey suggests recent veterinary graduates score highly in empathy, communication and clinical skills, but fare less well when it comes to emotional resilience and financial and business acumen.

The online survey, run through the Veterinary Schools Council, was the first unified survey of graduates from veterinary schools in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands. Veterinary employers were asked to rate their most recent graduate on a range of competencies.

Overall, graduates were rated highly in communications skills, collaboration and taking initiative in driving their own learning. Clinical skills generally scored well but surgery skills were noted as being not at the same level.

Empathy was the highest scoring category. In the additional comments, respondents consistently noted that graduates had excellent empathy with clients and animals, particularly with regard to euthanasia.

One comment said: ‘They show greater empathy towards patients and owners than I remember from my days as a student… and they will therefore be perhaps better role models in time than my generation of veterinarians.’

Financial and business management, however, received the lowest average score, with some employers noting a lack of understanding of clients’ financial constraints.

Another low-scoring area was emotional resilience. One respondent said of their graduate: ‘Sometimes allowed emotion to get in the way of the decision-making process. Occasionally showed a lack of resilience when discussing outcome of cases.’

Professor Ewan Cameron, chair of the Veterinary Schools Council, said: “An interesting point suggested by the results is the possibility that generations might differ from one another; this is of course nuanced and should not be over simplified.

“However, the data suggests that emotional resilience can be an issue for some graduates, while on empathy they are remarkably strong. It would not be unreasonable to suspect that there may be a connection between these characteristics.

“Therefore it is with a sense of balance that we must recognise where new generations can be supported while at the same time appreciating where they excel.”

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Campaign highlights ‘devastating impact’ of smoking around pets

News Story 1
 Leading vet charity PDSA has launched a campaign highlighting the ‘devastating impact’ that smoking can have on pets. The launch coincides with National No Smoking Day (14 March 2018) and aims to raise awareness of the risks of passive smoking and how to keep pets safe.

“Recent studies highlight that this is a really serious issue, and we want pet owners to know that they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets,” said PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan. “We want pet owners to realise that, if they smoke, their pets smoke too.”  

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News Shorts
AWF named charity of the year

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) has been chosen as charity of the year by the Veterinary Marketing Association (VMA). AWF is a vet-led charity, supported by the BVA, which aims to improve animal welfare though research funding, supporting veterinary education, providing pet care advice and encouraging debate on welfare issues.

VMA has pledged a range of support, including raising awareness and funds at their awards ceremony, which takes place on Friday 16 March, as well as offering marketing support through VMA marketing workshops.