How do vets develop their skills?

This isn’t a question often asked of us but is a frequent thought for most vets. Call it selection (of a ‘type’ of person allowed onto the veterinary course) or conditioning through university or from our peers but we all feel an internal need to continue to learn and develop and improve as a vet.

To stay a registered veterinary surgeon, we must complete a minimum number of hours of continual professional development (CPD) every year to maintain our membership. CPD can take many forms; practical courses on imaging or surgery, lectures on the latest research and thoughts on treating our medicine cases, online courses or journal reading of our chosen area of interest. Like human medicine, veterinary medicine is multi-disciplinary. Unlike human medicine, every species of animals is different. Equine, Farm animal, Small animal and Exotic animals are broader categories. These can be sub-divided further concerning specific parts of the animal body, for example, ophthalmology, neurology, internal medicine, orthopaedic and cardiology to name a few. In truth, each of us spend way and above the minimum requirement of hours devoted to CPD and mostly in our own time outside of work. Generally speaking, the desire to always be learning is strong. Veterinary medicine is a way of life, not just a job.

Many of our staff are advanced practitioners. This means they hold a further qualification obtained over several years in their chosen field obtained after qualifying as a veterinary surgeon. These vets are found in what we describe as general practice. Our vets hold advanced certificates in cardiology, surgery, internal medicine and anaesthesia and critical care.

Some vets are European or American board specialists in their chosen field and usually work in referral centres, such as Dick White Referrals locally. After three years of a residency inside of a referral centres, advanced study and examinations they obtain specialist status in their discipline.

Did you know this was the pathways vets can follow after a 5-6 year veterinary degree? Did you find this interesting?

Take a look at our Careers page for more information and guidance.