Measurement of leadership skills development among veterinary students and veterinary professionals participating in an experiential leadership program (the Veterinary Leadership Experience).
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate outcomes associated with an experiential leadership program (the Veterinary Leadership Experience [VLE]) among participants 1 year after program completion. SAMPLE: 157 veterinary students and 61 veterinary professionals who participated in the 2015 or 2016 VLE. PROCEDURES: Participants completed various instruments to assess emotional intelligence, psychological flexibility, resilience, and client-communication skills prior to (pretest) and 1 year after (posttest) attending the VLE; pretest and posttest findings were compared for all but client-communication skills, for which only posttest responses were analyzed. An additional posttest instrument assessed the impact that the VLE had on key knowledge areas (ie, self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relational competence, communication skills, and conflict management skills) and overall impact. RESULTS: 1 year after completing the VLE, participants reported that the program had a high impact on all key knowledge areas; the impact on social awareness and overall impact was significantly higher for veterinary students than for veterinary professionals. Veterinary professionals reported a greater increase in emotional intelligence after program completion than did veterinary students. For each assessed client-communication skill, the percentage of veterinary professionals who reported increased confidence in that skill after program completion was lower than the corresponding percentage of veterinary students. Resilience and psychological flexibility scores did not increase after program completion. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Assessment of the effectiveness and long-term outcomes of experiential leadership programs is important to understanding whether such programs are having the intended effect. Veterinary students and veterinary professionals who were assessed 1 year after completing the VLE reported improvements in leadership skills foundational to the program.