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Farm animal careers and perception of ‘fit’ in undergraduate veterinary students: A mixed methods study

Payne, Emily; Morton, Emily; Lally, Christopher; Remnant, John


Clinical Assistant Professor

Emily Morton

Christopher Lally

John Remnant


Background: Recruitment and retention of farm veterinarians have been the focus of recent research. Previous work suggests that a feeling of ‘fit’ is important for students to consider a farm career. The aim of this study was to identify whether students feel that they ‘fit’ in farm practice and reasons for their answer. Methods: An online survey was distributed to students at all British and Irish veterinary schools. A mixed methods approach was considered, with thematic analysis on free text answers and regression analysis on demographic variables. Results: Thematic analysis identified six themes: career opportunities, nature of farm veterinary work, relationships and interactions, individual experiences, expectations and perceptions, and no perceived barriers. Females, marginalised ethnic groups and those from an urban/suburban background were all identified as having significantly (p < 0.05) less agreement with the statement ‘I feel able to pursue a career in farm practice’. Limitations: Survey limitations include those with a clear bias being likely to respond. However, alignment of the qualitative and quantitative results increased confidence in the findings of this mixed methods approach. Conclusion: This study confirms that biases that exist within wider society do have an influence on veterinary undergraduates' intentions to pursue a farm animal career. This is vital to consider both at a university level and when considering students' experiences on placements. Urgent action is required to improve inclusivity in the farm animal veterinary sector.


Payne, E., Morton, E., Lally, C., & Remnant, J. (2022). Farm animal careers and perception of ‘fit’ in undergraduate veterinary students: A mixed methods study. Veterinary Record, Article e2339.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 10, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 7, 2022
Publication Date Nov 7, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2022
Journal Veterinary Record
Print ISSN 0042-4900
Electronic ISSN 2042-7670
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number e2339
Keywords General Veterinary; General Medicine
Public URL
Publisher URL


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