A Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) audit panel is to visit UK veterinary schools to assess how Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) is being carried out, identify good practice and make recommendations for improvement.

A Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) audit panel is to visit UK veterinary schools to assess how Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) is being carried out, identify good practice and make recommendations for improvement.

EMSThe exercise is part of a package of measures which aims to improve the way that EMS helps veterinary undergraduates to gain skills and knowledge in a practice environment.

RCVS Council agreed to the implementation of proposals made by a working party set up to review the whole EMS process in November 2009. While the EMS system was largely agreed to be valuable and working well, some areas were identified for improvement. Many of the recommendations centred on a better understanding amongst all parties involved (students, practices and vet schools) of the aims and objectives of EMS for the student, and improved communication about expectations and outcomes.

As a first step, the Education Policy and Specialisation Committee has put in place an audit of EMS at the veterinary schools. It has commissioned Barry Johnson (who led the original working party) and practitioners David Black, David Wadsworth and Chris Chesney, to follow through individual cases, talking to the students, practitioners and clinical tutors and EMS co-ordinators at the vet schools, to build a picture of how administration, communication and follow-up is managed.

Dr Johnson said: “The objective of the audit is to identify areas of good practice that can be shared, and identify where improvements could be made – it will also promote dialogue between practices and the schools. The exercise will be repeated over the next couple of years to track changes.”

The first audit took place at the Royal Veterinary College in February, as part of the full RCVS visitation of the undergraduate degree programme. The EMS audit panel will report its initial findings in June.

The full report and recommendations from the EMS working party can be viewed at www.rcvs.org.uk/EMS.

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