Prioritising practical skills for farm animal veterinary graduates using a Delphi technique

Sarah Wood*, Rebecca L Vallis, Ellie R Sellers, S Baillie

*Corresponding author for this work

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


As farm animal clinical practice continues to evolve, it is timely to gather expert opinion on and form an evidence base for the practical skill requirements for new graduates entering farm animal practice to ensure that undergraduate training maps to the needs of the profession.

Existing lists of practical skills for cattle and sheep were reviewed. Practitioners were recruited from UK farm and mixed veterinary practices to take part in a Delphi process to gain consensus on the most (and least) important skills for day 1 in practice.

The results indicate that students need skills that build trust and credibility with clients, in particular, animal handling, examining and treating sick animals and coping in an emergency until support arrives. Practitioners also acknowledged that new graduates would receive further training once in employment.

This study was limited to practical skills, although it was clear from the qualitative data that professional attributes are of key importance to employers and necessary for the success of graduates starting in practice.

The findings of this project will enable veterinary educators and practitioners within educational partnerships to review and update current curricula and prioritise teaching of appropriate learning objectives for farm practical skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)no
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the practitioners who contributed to this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Veterinary Record published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Veterinary Association.

Structured keywords

  • Veterinary Education Research Group


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