The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has published a guide for veterinary students that aims to prepare them for professional life.

The guide, entitled Fitness to Practise – A Guide for UK Veterinary Schools and Veterinary Students, was developed by an RCVS working party in conjunction with the UK’s seven veterinary schools that offer an RCVS-approved veterinary degree.

It has also received approval from the Veterinary Schools Council – a new body that represents the interests of the country’s veterinary schools.  

The first of a two-part guide provides guidance for veterinary schools on how to recognise and address fitness to practise concerns. The second part sets out the broad principles of fitness to practise that students should follow and which vet schools should uphold.  

Laura McClintock, an advisory solicitor from the RCVS professional conduct department, said: “While we don’t regulate veterinary students, we hope this guidance will prepare future vets for the requirements and standards we expect from members of a regulated profession, and for adhering to our Code of Professional Conduct and its supporting guidance.  

“The guide also recognises that each university will have its own specific disciplinary guidelines and procedures, but we hope this will help promote consistency in their fitness to practise regimes.  

“Although we expect any adverse findings made in university fitness to practise proceedings to be declared to us on application to register, we would take into account the fact that a student is not a fully-fledged professional and would therefore make some allowance for any mistakes and poor judgement when considering whether or not they should join the register.”  

The guide can be downloaded for free from

  The RCVS is also in the process of forming a working party to produce equivalent guidance for student veterinary nurses.

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