Higher Education

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 529–542 | Cite as

Relationships between students’ experiences of learning in an undergraduate internship programme and new graduates’ experiences of professional practice

  • Susan M. MatthewEmail author
  • Rosanne M. Taylor
  • Robert A. Ellis


Although educators believe that undergraduate internship programmes are a vital component of professional degrees, evidence of the relationship between students’ experiences of learning during such programmes and the quality of new graduates’ experiences of professional practice is limited. This research sought to investigate associations between veterinary students’ experiences of clinic-based learning (CBL) during a final year internship programme and their experiences of veterinary professional practice (VPP) in the year following graduation. Phenomenographic analysis of semi-structured interview transcripts identified the qualitative variation present in final year interns’ conceptions of and approaches to CBL (n = 41). Quantitative statistics were used to explore relationships amongst the quality of these components of students’ experiences of learning and performance during the internship programme. Additional quantitative analysis was used to link new graduates’ conceptions of and approaches to VPP with their experiences of CBL as final year students (n = 22). This illuminated crucial aspects of students’ learning experiences associated with the extent of their transitions to independent practice as entry level veterinarians. The results have implications for the design and teaching of undergraduate internships in a range of professions.


Approaches to learning Conceptions New graduate Placements Professional practice Veterinary education 



Clinic-based learning


Veterinary professional practice



The researchers are grateful for the valuable input of participants in this study. Scholarships Index funding provided by the Faculty of Veterinary Science at The University of Sydney provided financial support for this project. Approval for this research was obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Sydney.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan M. Matthew
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rosanne M. Taylor
    • 1
  • Robert A. Ellis
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary ScienceThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney eLearningThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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