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Stakeholder consultation on tracking in UK veterinary degrees: part 2

Abstract

There is ongoing debate in the profession as to whether veterinary students should focus on one (or a small number of) species during their undergraduate training (ie, track). This paper presents the qualitative data from surveys evaluating UK stakeholder opinion on introducing partial tracking (whereby students continue to qualify able to practise in all species) and full tracking (students qualify in a limited number of species with restricted registration). Surveys were distributed to practitioners, students and university staff; 1061 responses were completed. Thematic framework analysis was conducted on the free-text responses; responses were coded to a hierarchical framework developed inductively from the data. Six major themes were identified: choice, flexibility, competency and knowledge, stakeholder implications, specialisation and ‘what is a vet?’. The majority of the themes related to both full and partial tracking, usually being more pronounced in full tracking. The theme ‘choice’ is particularly important in light of the study's quantitative findings on students' awareness of the profession and their career aspirations (presented in a previous paper); should tracking be implemented, veterinary schools will need to take a proactive role in educating and assisting students while making career choices.

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