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It's Monday morning and you're on your way to an interview at the only university in Edinburgh, Scotland, that teaches veterinary nursing. You are one of over 400 students vying for 30 available spots. What can you do to stand out?
Edinburgh Napier University has an answer: they're bringing a dog, Belle, to your interview. You answer their questions while Belle fights for your attention. How will you react? Will you respond to the dog? In what way will you interact with her? The university is interested in the answers as they interview each veterinary nursing candidate.
According to The Boar, "[t]he hope is this will provide the university with a better insight into how the candidate interacts with animals and to see if they have the potential to be a successful vet."
In the workplace, veterinarians and veterinary staff are often performing dual tasks: treating the pet and speaking with a client. The university is looking at how well candidates do when they're being quizzed on their experience, passion and qualifications for veterinary nursing while there's a dog running around the room.
Belle, who belongs to Mary Fraser, BVMS, PhD, CertVD, PGCHE, FHEA, Cbiol, MSB, MRCVS, veterinary nursing lecturer, is one of three dogs that will be in the interview rooms. Ellie, a black lab, and Holly, a terrier, will also vie for the candidates' attention.
"Having Belle in the interview room not only helps calm the perspective students but lets us see what they're like with animals," Dr. Fraser told The Boar. "Most will rush over and cuddle and play with the puppy, whereas the odd one or two tend to stay seated," she said, according to Metro.
"All of our students go on to have work placements before eventually taking jobs in veterinary practices, so if, at this stage, they don't cope well with a very friendly puppy then they are unlikely to get on well with a snarling 60kg dog," Fraser added, according to The Boar. "It is about rooting out these issues before they even get a foot in the door."
So what makes an ideal candidate?
Fraser told Metro that she's "happy if they're paying the dog more attention than me. It's great when a student sits on the floor and gets covered in hair. To me that's great."
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