A family of dogs has been given a key role in selecting veterinary nurse students to study at Edinburgh Napier University.

Simba and Fern
Simba and Fern ready to help staff select applicants.

The three fox red Labrador retrievers – father Simba, mother Tia and puppy Fern – were let loose among applicants taking part in a group discussion exercise, as academic staff assessed students vying for a place on the popular BSc(Hons) Veterinary Nursing programme.

Core skill

Staff then assessed how applicants interacted with both animals and humans – a core skill for someone embarking on a career in the veterinary professions.

Lecturer and programme recruitment officer Jodie Smith said: “Each year we have very tough competition for places on the BSc(Hons) Veterinary Nursing programme.

“Incorporating dogs into the selection procedure allows applicants to display their skills in an authentic setting and greatly helps the decision-making process.”

Comfortable around animals

Ms Smith continued: “Having dogs present in interviews – in particular, good quality Labrador retrievers – tests the aptitude of potential students for dealing with animals.

“Their presence also helps the assessors hone in on candidates’ intuitive skills for working with dogs, which make up a large proportion of the patients in any veterinary practice.”

It is not the first time the university has used dogs as part of the process of selecting students, with staff keen to ensure all new recruits are comfortable around animals.

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