Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Assessing moral judgements in veterinary students : an exploratory mixed-methods study from Germany

Although veterinary ethics is required in veterinary curricula and part of the competencies expected of a trained veterinary surgeon according to the European Association of Establishments for Veterinary Education (EAEVE), knowledge concerning the effects of ethics teaching and tools evaluating moral judgement are scarce. To address this lack of tools with a mixed-methods approach, a questionnaire with three case scenarios presenting typical ethical conflicts of veterinary practice was administered to two groups of veterinary students (one had taken ethics classes, one did not). The questionnaire contained both open-ended and closed questions and was analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. The qualitative part aimed at revealing different argumentation patterns between the two groups, whereas the quantitative part focused on the students' approval of different roles and attitudes possibly relating to veterinarians. The results showed no major differences between both groups. However, answering patterns suggest a clear diversity among the students in their perception of morally relevant factors and the veterinary profession. Awareness of morally challenging elements of their profession was presented by students of both groups. With this exploratory study, the application of an innovative mixed-methods tool for evaluating the moral judgement of veterinary medical students is demonstrated.

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