Qualitative Analysis of Intern Applications and its Relationship to Performance Academic Article uri icon


  • This study aimed to identify qualitative aspects of small animal veterinary internship applications that are associated with relative intern performance. This study took place with data collected on small animal interns from the 2015 to 2016, 20162017, and 20172018 intern classes from four different institutions. Applicants were divided into top-performers and bottom-performers by sorting the calculated overall scores from highest to lowest, labeling the top half of interns as top-performers, and the lower half of interns as bottom-performers. Thematic analysis of the intern applications was conducted. Relationship skills and knowledge application were identified as themes in the top-performing interns but not in the bottom-performing interns. Veterinary experience, presentations, community service, research, and teaching were all seen more frequently in the top-performing interns. More top performers had characteristics of greatest strength of technical skills, professionalism, relationship skills, and teamwork. More bottom performers had characteristics of greatest strength of stress management, communication, and patient care. More top performers had characteristics that would benefit from targeted mentoring of leadership. More bottom-performers had characteristics that would benefit from targeted mentoring of technical skills, general knowledge, and self-awareness. In narrative comments, adaptability, and self-awareness were more commonly noted in the bottom-performers. Lack of confidence was noted as a theme in the bottom-performers, but not in the top-performers. Certain qualities of intern applications may be used to predict top- or bottom-performing interns.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Veterinary Medical Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Gosnell, H., Pegouske, M. P., Lyon, S. D., Diehl, K. A., Creevy, K. E., Fogelberg, K., & Hofmeister, E. H.

complete list of authors

  • Gosnell, Heather||Pegouske, Madison P||Lyon, Shane D||Diehl, Kathryn A||Creevy, Kate E||Fogelberg, Katherine||Hofmeister, Erik H