Portrayal of professions and occupations on veterinary practice websites and the potential for influencing public perceptions
Aim:Veterinary practice websites have the ability to attract and retain clients. They also have the potential to influence clients' perceptions of the veterinary team. This paper investigated ‘Meet the Team’ pages on UK practice websites to identify the current portrayal of veterinary professions and occupations.Method:One hundred random practices, treating any species, were selected from the RCVS' list of practices. Information on the team was collected.Results:Meet the Team pages existed on 82 websites. All Meet the Team pages included veterinary surgeons (VSs). Veterinary nurses (VNs) were included on 82.9% of pages. Of the 14 pages that did not include veterinary nurses, six pages belonged to practices which did employ veterinary nurses. ‘Other’ occupations (such as receptionists and administrators) were included on 90.2% of pages. Of the eight pages that did not include other groups, four belonged to practices which did employ other groups. According to their biographies, 76% of VNs are RVNs, 13% are qualified, while 11% had no indication of qualification. There was no significant difference between the proportions of individuals per profession who had photographs within their biographies, or between the focus of photographs per profession. VS's biographies were significantly longer than VN's.Conclusion:The analysis was largely reassuring. The majority of practices included all groups which make up their team. However, some do not, or put more emphasis on certain groups, which may influence clients' understanding and value for other members of the veterinary team. Some suggestions for Meet the Team pages are made.
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