The profession could learn from the way veterinary nurses are trained to enable a seamless transition from student to professional life, RCVS council has been told.

Concerns the profession was not keeping up with the training of its students were raised at RCVS council. Image © wellphoto / fotolia.
Concerns the profession was not keeping up with the training of its students were raised at RCVS council. Image © wellphoto / fotolia.

Speaking at the RCVS council meeting on 10 November, vet Peter Robinson said he was worried the profession was not keeping up with the training of its students.

He compared veterinary students with their nursing counterparts, saying VNs made a seemingly seamless transition from student to professional life, which was not the case for vets.

“Veterinary graduates struggle when they make the transition from university to practice, I think, and we need to concentrate on preparing students for that,” he said.

“We need to update EMS so it is more formal and mentoring is done prior to graduation – meaning students are better prepared for the job. Similar to when VNs graduate, it’s a seamless process from student to graduate. You almost don’t notice the difference, but you certainly notice it in vets.”

Plans

Mr Robinson’s comments came as RCVS council discussed the conclusion of the three-year strategic plan and the 2017-19 draft.

He continued: “I am pleased with the plan – it’s good, but there are faults in it. My worry is we are not keeping up with the training of veterinary students.

“We now have fewer mixed practices – the majority are companion animal. There is extensive advertising, corporates, limited companies, specialist, species-specific and referral practices, telemedicine, a veterinary nursing profession and VN-owned practices.

“I don’t think training is keeping pace with that and we’ve got to start looking at how we train people going into practice and how we select those entering the profession.”

‘Disillusion and fear’

Vet and former RCVS president Jackie Molyneux said part of the problem was how new graduates are treated in practice.

While she stressed she was “immensely impressed” with the abilities of new graduates, she said: “I think a lot of new graduates are treated the same way James Herriot, and those of us of that age, were – dropped in and left to sink or swim. I don’t think that’s how they should be treated nowadays, but a proportion are, which leads to a huge amount of disillusion and fear.”

  • Read the full story – including further reaction from the council meeting – in the 28 November issue of Veterinary Times.
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