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Qualified but not yet fully competent: perceptions of recent veterinary graduates on their day-one skills
  1. Chantal Duijn1,
  2. Harold Bok1,
  3. Olle ten Cate2 and
  4. Wim Kremer1
  1. 1 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Center for Research and Development of Education, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Chantal Duijn; c.c.m.a.duijn{at}


Background The goal of veterinary education is to prepare learners to successfully enter the profession. However, the transition from learner to professional can be an intense and stressful phase. In this study, recently graduated veterinarians’ perceptions of readiness to work independently and to successfully cope with early career challenges are addressed.

Methods A survey based on five commonly occurring entrustable professional activities (EPAs) in primary care was sent to newly qualified veterinarians (graduated between six months and three-and-a-half years ago and working in primary veterinary clinics). The survey was a combination of open and Likert scale-type questions and contained items on the self-reported need for supervision for these EPAs. One hundred and fifty-six participants (response rate 41.2 per cent) answered the survey. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse and present the quantitative data.

Results The day-one after graduation levels varied per EPA between ‘with direct, proactive supervision’ and ‘supervision at a distance’. On average after 6.8 months participants felt ready to execute all five tasks with distant supervision. After almost 10 months, participants had the feeling of being fully competent to execute the EPAs unsupervised.

Conclusion This study provides insight into early career challenges faced by recently graduated veterinarians. The results emphasise the importance of adequate preparation of veterinarians during education and the importance of guidance during early career to foster a successful transition from veterinary school to clinical practice.

  • clinical education
  • workplace-based
  • entrustable professional activities
  • transition
  • clinical practice
  • exercise
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Ethical Review Board of the Netherlands Association for Medical Education (NVMO-ERB, report number 1034). Participation was voluntary and participants were assured of confidentiality (informed consent) and anonymity. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants of the survey.

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

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article. No data are available.

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