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Veterinary peer study groups as a method of continuous education—A new approach to identify and address factors associated with antimicrobial prescribing


Pucken, Valerie-Beau; Schüpbach-Regula, Gertraud; Gerber, Manuela; Salis Gross, Corina; Bodmer, Michèle (2019). Veterinary peer study groups as a method of continuous education—A new approach to identify and address factors associated with antimicrobial prescribing. PLoS ONE, 14(9):e0222497.

Abstract

Within the dairy industry, most antimicrobials are used for dry-cow therapy or mastitis treatment. To reduce antimicrobial usage in dairy cows, increasing awareness and behaviour change is necessary. As veterinarians are known to be influenced by their peers, peer study groups as a continuous education might contribute to this. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyse written records of veterinary peer study group meetings to identify factors associated with antimicrobial prescribing decisions, and to analyse veterinarians’ attitude towards the benefits of this continuous education method. Twenty-three participating Swiss cattle practitioners were divided into three groups. Each group met every two to five months, together with a facilitator and an expert on the topic to be discussed. Written records from every meeting were taken and analysed qualitatively to identify factors influencing veterinarians’ decisions on antimicrobial prescribing and mastitis therapy. In addition, focus group discussions were conducted after the last meeting, to assess the veterinarians' learning achievements gained during the peer study group meetings. Extrinsic factors such as external pressure, competition, farmer, individual animal, farm and diagnostics as well as intrinsic factors such as own experience/attitude, knowledge and change of mindset during career could be shown to influence veterinarians’ decisions on antimicrobial prescribing. In the focus group discussions, the veterinarians stated that they gained new knowledge, received new stimuli, exchanged with their peers and felt supported in their relationship to their farmers. Since the identified factors are partly interrelated, it is not sufficient to change a single factor to achieve a change in the antimicrobial prescription behaviour of veterinarians. Veterinary peer study groups could contribute to the intention to change, because veterinarians experienced multiple benefits from this method of continuous education. In order to quantify this, the prescription data of the veterinarians are analysed in a next step.

Abstract

Within the dairy industry, most antimicrobials are used for dry-cow therapy or mastitis treatment. To reduce antimicrobial usage in dairy cows, increasing awareness and behaviour change is necessary. As veterinarians are known to be influenced by their peers, peer study groups as a continuous education might contribute to this. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyse written records of veterinary peer study group meetings to identify factors associated with antimicrobial prescribing decisions, and to analyse veterinarians’ attitude towards the benefits of this continuous education method. Twenty-three participating Swiss cattle practitioners were divided into three groups. Each group met every two to five months, together with a facilitator and an expert on the topic to be discussed. Written records from every meeting were taken and analysed qualitatively to identify factors influencing veterinarians’ decisions on antimicrobial prescribing and mastitis therapy. In addition, focus group discussions were conducted after the last meeting, to assess the veterinarians' learning achievements gained during the peer study group meetings. Extrinsic factors such as external pressure, competition, farmer, individual animal, farm and diagnostics as well as intrinsic factors such as own experience/attitude, knowledge and change of mindset during career could be shown to influence veterinarians’ decisions on antimicrobial prescribing. In the focus group discussions, the veterinarians stated that they gained new knowledge, received new stimuli, exchanged with their peers and felt supported in their relationship to their farmers. Since the identified factors are partly interrelated, it is not sufficient to change a single factor to achieve a change in the antimicrobial prescription behaviour of veterinarians. Veterinary peer study groups could contribute to the intention to change, because veterinarians experienced multiple benefits from this method of continuous education. In order to quantify this, the prescription data of the veterinarians are analysed in a next step.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:19 September 2019
Deposited On:22 Jan 2020 12:43
Last Modified:22 Apr 2020 22:35
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222497
PubMed ID:31536527

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