'Clients. Outdoors. Animals.': Retaining vets in UK farm animal practice-thematic analysis of free-text survey responses

Katherine E. Adam, Sarah Baillie, Jonathan Rushton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
183 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Retaining vets in farm practice has been identified as a key strategy to maintain an adequately trained and experienced workforce to provide animal health services for livestock enterprises and government. This qualitative study aimed to explore vets' experiences of UK farm animal practice and their perceptions of the factors that influenced their career choices. Thematic analysis of free-text survey responses from 187 vets working in farm practice and 141 who had given up farm work identified four main themes: affect (experiences of feeling or emotions), personal life, the job and the bigger picture. Those who stayed in farm practice described satisfaction with their career and enjoyment of physical, outdoor work in rural communities. Choosing to give up farm work was influenced by both personal and professional circumstances and related frequently to management issues in practice. Veterinary businesses also face challenges from the broader agricultural and veterinary sectors that affect their ability to support and retain vets. The findings presented build on previous quantitative analysis of factors associated with retention and demonstrate the complexity of individual vets' career choices.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Record
Volume184
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

© British Veterinary Association 2018. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Keywords

  • farm animals
  • practice management
  • veterinary profession

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