Supporting veterinary graduates to transition smoothly into practice

Work Psychology Group (WPG) recently worked with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Small Animals Veterinary Association (BSAVA) on a project to evaluate the effectiveness of the Professional Development Phase (PDP) for veterinary graduates.  This formal support mechanism aims to help graduates navigate the transition from the structured environment of veterinary school, to the day to day challenges of veterinary practice.

In recent years, WPG has gained extensive experience of working with the veterinary profession. This particular project involves supporting the selection of undergraduate students within the UK and internationally and the development of a bespoke questionnaire to evaluate employer perceptions of the skills and abilities of recent graduates.

Charlotte Flaxman from WPG, who worked on the project, said: “We undertook a multi-method approach using telephone interviews, focus groups and online surveys to seek feedback from graduates, employers and other stakeholders. Through this we gathered data on perceptions of the PDP, challenges facing new graduates, support available to graduates as they complete the PDP and the role that reflection plays within the profession. We are delighted that our evaluation has provided a starting point for the RCVS to consider updates to the PDP to further support new graduates and their employers.”

One of WPG’s key services includes supporting clients with evaluation activities, such as reviewing a new training programme or selection process. WPG works with clients to identify and develop the most appropriate approaches and methodologies; this may include exploring applicant and stakeholder perceptions, measuring the impact of selection or development processes on key organisational and people metrics such as diversity, turnover and employee engagement, or investigating whether assessment methods predict employee performance at work.

Charlotte added: “We have significant experience of implementing evaluation methodologies within the medical profession, including a retrospective validation and evaluation of the competency framework and selection process for entry into medical speciality training. Within the scope of this project, it has been interesting to take that experience and apply it in a comparable industry – but where the end customer often has four legs instead of two!”

For the RCVS press release, which incorporates the actions to be implemented as a result of the project,  click here.  And the BSAVA press release can be found here.