The benefits of the Professional Development Phase (PDP) and the support it provides for new veterinary graduates have been highlighted in a new video produced by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

The video shows how PDP can benefit new graduates.

The PDP is undertaken by all UK veterinary graduates during their first few years in clinical practice and the video demonstrates how it helps new veterinary surgeons build their clinical competence and confidence through structured self-assessment.

It helps graduates develop the core skills and knowledge they need for life in practice as outlined in the RCVS Year One Competences.  

Featured in the video is veterinary surgeon Victoria Henry who works at Mandeville Veterinary Hospital in Northolt and speaks about how the PDP has helped her move from being a newly-qualified graduate to becoming a confident practitioner.

She says: “It’s a massive transition coming out of vet school and going into practice – you suddenly have all the responsibility and it’s all on you. The PDP gives you goalposts to work towards and flags up the areas you don’t have much practice in; it helps you to reflect on what you’ve been doing and assess yourself.”

Speaking of the Professional Development Record, the free online system that allows graduates to log their progress, Victoria adds: “It is really easy, you log on you’ve got a very simple username and password and it takes you straight to a page which has all of the targets and the lists of things you need to be logging. It only took 20 minutes a week.”

Mandeville Veterinary Hospital head veterinary surgeon Jeremy Stewart talks about how the PDP helps employers to support and develop graduates like Victoria by building their confidence and helping them gain the experience they need for practice life.  

The video also highlights the support available for graduates undertaking the PDP and features Julian Wells, one of the five postgraduate deans who help graduates undertaking the PDP by providing advice on any issues they may encounter, checking their progress and confirming when they have completed it. He also describes how the PDP helps graduates to understand the mentoring role in practice, which they can then provide to new graduates as they progress through their own careers. Graduates should complete the PDP within three years of entering clinical practice, although most complete it within 18 months.

RCVS head of education Christine Warman said: “Coming out of the structured environment of the veterinary school into practice life can be a challenging time for many new graduates. With 859 new UK graduates having just joined the Register, we thought this video would be helpful in setting out why the PDP can be so crucial in helping to build the confidence and experience of new graduates, as well as the fact that it can easily be incorporated into day-to-day work.”

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