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. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0222497

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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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Pucken, Valerie-Beau Patricia, Schüpbach-Regula, Gertraud Irene, Gerber, Manuela, Salis Gross Cöplü, Corina, Bodmer, Michèle


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

20 Sep 2019 14:10

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:32

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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