Staying On Our Veterinary Toes

It’s not all glitz and glamour being a vet you know; but I can say, hand on heart, that I wouldn’t change what I do for all the tea in China. Looking back, I think that, maybe, actually qualifying as a Veterinary Surgeon was the easy bit! In those days it seemed that I was never going to get there and receive my degree and be allowed to practice; endless cycles of lectures, practical placements and exams. No wonder I had to immerse myself in University life and the joys of the Student Union 🙂

Hard work and determination did pay off though and I found myself a job in the fantastic world of Veterinary practice.

Youthful naivety was soon mercilessly shredded as the paperwork for Continued Professional Development (CPD) landed on my doormat. Eh? You mean I have to KEEP studying to be a Vet? Jeepers, best I start seeing what I need to do then! The years have, thankfully, revealed that it’s not the enormous mountain it seemed back then to keep up-to-date and on top of the game, *phew*.

Veterinarians aren’t the only profession that have to undertake CPD; Medical Doctors, Lawyers, and Nurses are also some of the others that have to do this form of study (and I include the magnificent Veterinary Nurses here that help the SLVC machine run smoothly). Each profession has its own required hours and time limits, but for us Vets it’s 105 hours of CPD in any 3 year period; this roughly equates to 35 hours i.e. one working week per year. This rule applies equally to those working part-time or full-time. CPD is a mandatory requirement for the Veterinarian profession, so there are no ifs, buts or maybes – everyone has to do it, end of.

In a nutshell though, CPD is the means to continually maintain and improve our knowledge and skill-base;

it can also provide us with the opportunity to broaden our horizons within the huge sphere of Veterinary practice. Personal qualities and skills (such as being competent to train students) are also developed within CPD, ensuring that all RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) members stay competent professionals.

Here at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre we are a close, tight-knit team and as such we are only too happy to review each others’ CPD folders and suggest ways to fulfil the requirements. Planning ahead makes sure that we fulfil the terms of the CPD programme, but also that opportunities to further ourselves are taken.

Shadowing someone or being mentored in our own practice (or at another practice) counts towards CPD, and being an Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Surgery means that I personally have helped in the advancement of others. The more traditional organised courses, lectures and seminars run by the RCVS are another very popular way to meet the hours of CPD – both attending them, or being the person delivering them to fellow Vets.

Tying in to the Continued Professional Development theme is the Official Veterinarian Revalidation that myself and Miklos have recently had to undertake.

Victoria and Miklos are two new SLVC team members (both qualified Veterinarians) who I will introduce you to more in-depth at a later date, as well as Sam who is also a new Vet to the team :-). Miklos and yours truly are both Official Veterinarians (OV’s), which means we’ve undergone extra training and are certified by the Government to oversee the exportation and importation of pets out and in of the UK.

Recent times have seen the process of re-validation for this qualification become much more stringent; previous knowledge has had less importance placed upon it – so-called Grandfather Rights

– meaning that we have both had to produce evidence of our ongoing CPD activities. Many hours of online training and an online exam have also had to be provided in addition to the CPD stuff, and this is something that we have to repeat every 5 years. You may have seen the video I posted on the Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre website recently where the requirements for pet exportation and pet passports were explained? If not, head over and take a look.

When I recently sat the online exam to revalidate my OV status I had to nominate a Veterinarian colleague to sit with me whilst I did it, to ensure that no cheating went on. You can imagine the amusement this gave Sam, and she loved lording (or should that be ladying?!) it over the boss! Can’t fault her, I’d have done the same if the tables were turned 🙂

I hope I’ve given you a bit of an insight into what we keep doing to stay the very best Veterinary Surgeons that we can be.

I’ve said before that the SLVC team are all incredibly passionate about what they do, and that we put the care of your beloved pet at the forefront of everything. This is why we have such a great reputation, and you can rest assured that this will always be the case! As ever, if you have any concerns about your pet then please get in touch with one of the team and we’ll be happy to advise you.

Until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy 🙂