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J Vet Med Educ. 2017 Nov 3:1-14. doi: 10.3138/jvme.1016-161r1. [Epub ahead of print]

Perceptions of the Veterinary Profession among Human Health Care Students before an Inter-Professional Education Course at Midwestern University.

Abstract

Conflicts among health care professionals often stem from misperceptions about each profession's role in the health care industry. These divisive tendencies impede progress in multidisciplinary collaborations to improve human, animal, and environmental health. Inter-professional education (IPE) may repair rifts between health care professions by encouraging students to share their professional identities with colleagues in unrelated health care disciplines. An online survey was conducted at Midwestern University (MWU) to identify baseline perceptions about veterinary medicine among entry-level human health care students before their enrollment in an inter-professional course. Participation was anonymous and voluntary. The survey included Likert-type scales and free-text questions. Survey participants expressed their interest in and respect for the discipline of veterinary medicine, but indicated that their unfamiliarity with the profession hindered their ability to collaborate. Twenty percent of human health care students did not know the length of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program and 27.6% were unaware that veterinarians could specialize. Although 83.2% of participants agreed that maintaining the human-animal bond is a central role of the veterinary profession, veterinary contributions to stem cell research, food and water safety, public health, environmental conservation, and the military were infrequently recognized. If IPE is to successfully pave the way for multidisciplinary collaboration, it needs to address these gaps in knowledge and broaden the definition of veterinary practice for future human health care providers.

KEYWORDS:

One Health; human health care perspective; inter-professional education (IPE); perceptions; veterinary medical education; veterinary medical profession

PMID:
29099320
DOI:
10.3138/jvme.1016-161r1
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