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Success in career transitions in veterinary practice: perspectives of employers and their employees
  1. Melinda Bell1,
  2. Martin Cake1 and
  3. Caroline Mansfield2
  1. 1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2 School of Education, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, Australia
  1. E-mail for correspondence; M.Bell{at}


This study qualitatively explored success factors across career transitions in veterinary practice. Semistructured interviews were conducted independently with pairs of veterinary employers and their recent graduate employees, focusing on success in gaining initial employment, their transition to practising veterinarian and longevity in the veterinary profession. The divergence and convergence of interviewees’ perspectives, the changing emphasis of capabilities over different career phases, and the meaning of success were explored. Overall, the perspectives of employers and employees were similar, and highlighted communication skills, confidence, diligence and reliability, and technical skills and knowledge as important themes for initial employment and transition to practice. Other important success factors for initial employment included interpersonal skills, teamwork and team fit, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, and previous experience with the graduate. Support, resilience and work–life balance were important to the transition to practice phase. For career longevity, work–life balance remained an important theme, but also continual learning, business skills and goal-setting. Success was defined around enjoyment and personal satisfaction, developing proficiency, and maintaining passion for the profession. Job fit was a persistent theme throughout. This exploratory study highlights the capabilities and factors supporting success in veterinary career transitions, some of which may be inconspicuous in traditional competency-based frameworks.

  • transition to practice
  • success in veterinary practice
  • employability
  • employer perspective
  • employee perspective
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  • Funding This study was completed as part of the VetSet2Go project, supported by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, grant number ID15-4930.

  • Disclaimer The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was granted approval by the Murdoch University Human Research Ethics Committee (Project No 2015/241).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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