Comparing tolerance of ambiguity in veterinary and medical students

Hancock, J., Hammond, J. A., Roberts, M. and Mattick, K. (2017) Comparing tolerance of ambiguity in veterinary and medical students. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 44(3), pp. 523-530. (doi: 10.3138/jvme.0916-150R1) (PMID:28876986)

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Current guidelines suggest that educators in both medical and veterinary professions should do more to ensure that students can tolerate ambiguity. Designing curricula to achieve this requires the ability to measure and understand differences in ambiguity tolerance among and within professional groups. Although scales have been developed to measure tolerance of ambiguity in both medical and veterinary professions, no comparative studies have been reported. We compared the tolerance of ambiguity of medical and veterinary students, hypothesizing that veterinary students would have higher tolerance of ambiguity, given the greater patient diversity and less well-established evidence base underpinning practice. We conducted a secondary analysis of questionnaire data from first- to fourth-year medical and veterinary students. Tolerance of ambiguity scores were calculated and compared using the TAMSAD scale (29 items validated for the medical student population), the TAVS scale (27 items validated for the veterinary student population), and a scale comprising the 22 items common to both scales. Using the TAMSAD and TAVS scales, medical students had a significantly higher mean tolerance of ambiguity score than veterinary students (56.1 vs. 54.1, p<.001 and 60.4 vs. 58.5, p=.002, respectively) but no difference was seen when only the 22 shared items were compared (56.1 vs. 57.2, p=.513). The results do not support our hypothesis and highlight that different findings can result when different tools are used. Medical students may have slightly higher tolerance of ambiguity than veterinary students, although this depends on the scale used.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hammond, Mrs Jennifer
Authors: Hancock, J., Hammond, J. A., Roberts, M., and Mattick, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Veterinary Medical Education
Publisher:University of Toronto Press
ISSN (Online):1943-7218
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 University of Toronto Press
First Published:First published in Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 44(3):523-530
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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