Perceptions of small animal practitioners and pet owners on professional competencies in veterinary practice: an essential component for curricula design

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Cristian Gabriel Torres
María José Laytte-García
Tamara Alejandra Tadich-Gallo


Veterinaria México OA
ISSN: 2448-6760

Cite this as:

  • Torres CG, Laytte-García MJ, Tadich-Gallo TA. Perceptions of small animal practitioners and pet owners on professional competencies in veterinary practice: an essential component for curricula design. Veterinaria México OA. 2019;6(4). doi: 10.22201/fmvz.24486760e.2019.4.683.

Veterinary schools are responsible for defining their curricula in accordance with societal needs. For this input, listening to stakeholders from outside academia is essential. The aim of this study was to investigate the perception of Chilean small animal practitioners and pet owners on the attributes they consider that constitute a good veterinarian, and to relate these attributes to demographic characteristics. For this, a cross-sectional survey study was designed. A group of 308 small animal practitioners and 328 pet owners from Santiago Metropolitan Region, in Chile, were surveyed. The survey included twenty attributes and questions on demographic characteristics and was applied via email to professionals, and to pet owners sitting in waiting rooms of small animal practices. The majority of respondents in both groups were young adult females. Significant differences in the importance given to 12 out of 20 attributes were found between groups. When asked to prioritize three attributes, both groups mentioned “knowledge about veterinary medicine and surgery”, followed by “recognizes own limitations and knows when to seek advice” as well as “good communication skills” in the case of veterinarians. In the case of pet owners, “confidence”, “recognizes own limitations” and “knows when to seek advice” were the following attributes. Results showed significant differences within groups according to gender and age, with females and elder respondents giving higher importance to the attributes included in the study. Professional skills should be considered when developing new curricula in Chile, especially those important for local stakeholders.

Keywords: Professional skills, veterinary curricula, soft competencies, small animal practitioners, education.

Article Details


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