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An exploration of the career motivations stated by Early-career veterinarians in Australia

Cake, M.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0072-9024, Mansfield, C.F., McArthur, M.L., Zaki, S. and Matthew, S.M. (2019) An exploration of the career motivations stated by Early-career veterinarians in Australia. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 46 (4). pp. 545-554.

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Despite the critical influence of motivation on education and work outcomes, little is known about the motivations driving people to become and remain veterinarians. This qualitative study explored the career motivations stated by Australian veterinary graduates (n = 43) using a free-response Ten Statements Test (TST) at graduation, with follow-up interviews 6–8 months later (n = 10). TST responses were coded using an alternate inductive-deductive approach that tested their fit against existing theories of motivation. Results showed that the stated motivations were predominantly oriented to perceived value, rather than self-beliefs such as expectancy of success. About a quarter of the statements were animal-related, principally themed around intrinsic animal orientation (e.g., I like animals) or extrinsic animal-related purpose (e.g., I want to help animals). However, many non-animal themes also emerged, including both intrinsic (e.g., love of learning, challenge/problem solving, variety, social relatedness) and extrinsic (e.g., helping people, social contribution, career opportunity) motivations. Interview data revealed a motivational narrative of early formative influences, with some interviewees describing a later transition toward more people- or goal-oriented motivations. This exploratory study, outlining a broad taxonomy of veterinary career motivations and their alignment to self-determination theory in particular, may provide a useful framework for exploring career motivations in veterinary education.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Publisher: Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
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