Which professional (non-technical) competencies are most important to the success of graduate veterinarians? A Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) systematic review: BEME Guide No. 38

M Cake, Melinda A Bell, Julie C. Williams, F Brown, M Dozier, SM Rhind, Sarah Baillie

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

31 Citations (Scopus)
288 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Despite the growing prominence of professional (non-technical) competencies in veterinary education, the evidence to support their importance to veterinary graduates is unclear.

Aim: To summarise current evidence within the veterinary literature for the importance of professional competencies to graduate success.

Methods: A systematic search of electronic databases was conducted (CAB Abstracts, Web of Science, PubMed, PsycINFO, ERIC, Australian and British Education Index, Dissertations & Theses) from 1988-2015 and limited to the veterinary discipline (veterinar* term required). Evidence was sought from consensus-based competence frameworks, surveys of stakeholder perceptions, and empirical evidence linked to relevant outcomes (e.g. employability, client satisfaction or compliance). Data extraction was completed by two independent reviewers and included a quality assessment of each source.

Results: 52 sources were included in the review, providing evidence from expert frameworks (10 sources), stakeholder perceptions (30 sources, including one from the previous category), and empirical research (13 sources). Communication skills were the only competency to be well-supported by all three categories of evidence. Other competencies supported by multiple sources of empirical evidence include empathy, relationship-centred care, self-efficacy, and business skills. Other competencies perceived to be relatively more important included awareness of limitations, professional values, critical thinking, collaboration, and resilience.

Conclusions: This review has highlighted the comparatively weak body of evidence supporting the importance of professional competencies for veterinary graduate success, with the exception of communication skills. However we stress this is more indicative of the scarcity of high-quality veterinary-based education research in the field, than of the true priority of these competencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-563
Number of pages14
JournalMedical Teacher
Volume38
Issue number6
Early online date4 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Keywords

  • veterinary graduate attributes
  • non-technical competencies
  • professional competencies

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