During my term as BEVA president, it has become increasingly evident that structured career development following graduation is one of the key features of professional satisfaction for vets in equine practice.
Vets are high achievers (overachievers), and most are well suited to the fast-paced and highly organised structure of the veterinary degree course. Information and evidence are in abundance, and the assimilation of knowledge is, in general, efficient and satisfying. Upon graduation, the infrastructure associated with this style of learning is partly removed and the individual professional must plan their own path and development, most likely at the same time as undertaking a full-time job in unfamiliar surroundings. This frequently leads to a reduction in the structure and formality of the learning process.
Some professionals thrive in this free environment and find it easy to navigate the plethora of options, while others struggle with the lack of leadership and direction. This was made evident at a recent BEVA vet school tour when one of the final year students asked: “What makes a good internship, and what is a healthy balance between heavy caseload to fast-track learning versus burnout? Who is out there to help with questions like this and to guide graduates towards and through the process successfully?”
Some professionals thrive in this free environment and find it easy to navigate the plethora of options, while others struggle with the lack of leadership and direction
BEVA has created various platforms and structures to help in this area, and one of the new resources is the BEVA internship initiative. Over the past two years, Bruce Bladon and Roger Smith have been looking into what makes a “good internship”. A key output of the initiative is a list of practices whose internship programmes meet set criteria. Each internship will be different based on caseload and practitioners, but their fundamental objectives will be the same. This resource will provide a “go-to” list of internships from which graduates can select the one most suited to their needs. They will then be able to use the accompanying toolkit to help them navigate the best route through their internship, maximising the chances of a successful outcome.
BEVA also recognises the diversity of the equine sector and has, therefore, split the available internships into three streams – hospital, ambulatory and reproduction. Clearly, there will be a significant crossover between streams in some of the internships offered, but we felt it was beneficial to offer some initial signposting for ease of access. The number of practices signing up for the scheme so far suggests a real desire within the equine industry to help newer graduates. We are excited to launch this initiative, and I would like to thank Bruce and Roger for their significant input; between them, they have extensive knowledge and understanding of the educational requirements and the highlights and pitfalls of an internship programme.
Congress 2022 will be championing the diverse opportunities the profession offers and addressing some of the non-clinical challenges currently being faced
Continuing professional development (CPD) is an essential element of all our professional lives and is not restricted to newly graduated members. I am most excited about BEVA Congress in Liverpool from 7 to 10 September – this year is the special 60th edition of BEVA Congress, Europe’s largest equine veterinary event. Congress 2022 will be championing the diverse opportunities the profession offers and addressing some of the non-clinical challenges currently being faced, including recruitment, retention and work-life balance. The programme includes five live streams running in parallel throughout the conference, with clinical research presentations returning after a COVID-19 enforced hiatus.
The social programme will also be fully available, and I personally cannot wait to see the BEVA family together in one venue. Congress is more than CPD – catching up with friends and colleagues and “chewing the fat” over a coffee, beer or wine is so important for our mental health. Sharing our highs and lows strengthens our professional team and reinvigorates us all. As a hybrid event, even those staying at home to look after the practice can benefit, and as the congress always contains plenty of relevant and dedicated content for nurses, the whole practice team can take part in strengthening the team bond.
|BEVA Congress is a hybrid event taking place from Wednesday 7 to Saturday 10 September 2022 at the ACC, Liverpool. To find out more information, visit the BEVA Congress website.|