Many universities put veterinary students into groups for final year rotations, in which they remain for the year. Others keep students in the same group for the majority of rotations and shuffle them around for selectives only.

However, selective rotations at the University of Glasgow run throughout the year and, to accommodate as many of the students’ choices as possible, we have a different group of students for every rotation.

Another difference between the universities is whether students have a choice with regards to the group of people they are put with.

Familiarity breeds…

Original image © grgroup / fotolia.

Some universities allow students to name one or two people they would like to be in groups with (if possible), or even name students they really don’t want to be in groups with – all in the strictest confidence, of course.

We don’t get a choice at Glasgow, but scope exists to swap groups, once the rotation timetable is released, if you change your mind about selectives or want to avoid someone in particular.

Is one method superior to the others? Being in the same group for the year could result in a strong team who know each other really well and play to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But, on the other hand, it could also easily become tiresome if niggling annoyances build up throughout the year.

Where students are able to suggest colleagues they would like (or not) to be grouped with, the likelihood of begrudging fellow students in your group could be minimised, but, ultimately, isn’t likely to be eliminated entirely.

Hobson’s choice

Should we get a say, though? In the real world of work (now only nine months away) we aren’t likely to get a choice about who we work with, unless a very strong first impression is made that would make you either very keen to take a job or extremely put off.

Ideally, we need to be able to work with a range of different people – those we do and don’t like – in a professional context and keep personal grievances out of the workplace. Realistically this can be difficult, but we may as well start learning how to do that now.

I think changing groups every rotation provides a balance between being thrown in with people you may not know very well (or like very much) and not being stuck with them for an extended period of time; each of our rotations are four weeks in duration.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know people I’d previously barely, if ever, spoken to and, in some cases, building solid new friendships. I’m obviously biased because I love Glasgow, but I think we’ve nailed the system perfectly.

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