Preparing veterinary students for extramural clinical placement training: Issues identified and a possible solution
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Bell, C., Baillie, S., Kinnison, T. and Cavers, A. (2010) ‘Preparing veterinary students for extramural clinical placement training: Issues identified and a possible solution’, Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 37(2), pp. 190-197.
Extramural clinical placement training is an important part of many veterinary degree programs and provides students with valuable learning experiences in private practice, often focusing on the management of typical first-opinion cases. In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has a mandatory requirement that students take 26 weeks of clinical placement or extramural studies (EMS) before graduation. However, if students are to maximize their learning opportunities during these placements, it is important that they be adequately prepared. In response to recent topical issues surrounding EMS in the United Kingdom, the current project undertook an iterative consultation process with key stakeholders, including students and placement providers, to identify key issues associated with students attending placements. These findings then informed the development and content of a computer-aided learning (CAL) package titled “The EMS Driving Licence” that aimed to improve the preparation of students for placements. The CAL package included sections covering the main identified areas of concern: Preparation (including what to take), Working With People (staff and clients), Professionalism (including confidentiality), Frequently Asked Questions (from students), and Top Tips (from practitioners). The CAL package was evaluated by students, and feedback was gathered by means of a questionnaire. Students recognized that the content addressed many of their concerns, and all reported that they would recommend the package to others. The CAL package has been made available to all UK veterinary schools and has received backing from the RCVS as part of their current recommendations on EMS to the UK veterinary profession.