How can we better prepare graduates for practice?

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Practicing across the spectrum of care involves the ability to provide a wide range of care options that meet the needs of both the patient and the client. This includes being able to tailor care options to a socioeconomically diverse clientele. Veterinarians have been practicing across the spectrum of care for many years. So why has the phrase "spectrum of care" recently become a focal point in discussions?

Providing equitable and accessible veterinary care has become a major concern for veterinary medicine. Spectrum of care has been identified as one strategy to help address issues surrounding access to care: If veterinarians can provide a wider range of care options for more patients, this can help increase accessibility of care for a larger population of pets.

The veterinary profession faces the challenge of ensuring that its graduates are prepared to provide care options in the face of client limitations. 

Recognizing this challenge, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has launched the Spectrum of Care Initiative (SOCI).

This initiative aims to support colleges of veterinary medicine as they reshape clinical education to better prepare graduates for the multifaceted demands of real-world practice. This involves teaching the skills and knowledge required to provide a wide range of care options contextualized not only to patient needs, but also to client factors such as financial constraints. Preparing students with these skills will better prepare graduates for the realities of practice and to meet the needs of a socioeconomically diverse clientele.

The AAVMC Spectrum of Care Initiative needs your help

The AAVMC-SOCI is conducting a pilot project to identify the skills and knowledge necessary for students in their training programs to manage common canine conditions. To achieve this goal, the AAVMC seeks input from primary care practitioners to identify the essential skills and knowledge required for new graduates to effectively practice across the spectrum of care and offer a wide range of care options to a diverse population of animal owners.

While all primary care practitioners are encouraged to participate, the AAVMC is especially interested in insights from those experienced in delivering a broad range of care options to meet the needs of a socioeconomically diverse clientele, especially in economically challenged areas. 

One aim of the project is to compare the skills and knowledge that practitioners believe graduates should possess with the skills and knowledge that students are learning in their DVM programs. The goal is to assess the alignment between the two. Ultimately, this process will help academic training programs better connect with workforce realities and create opportunities for practitioners to provide feedback to programs on new graduate preparedness. 

Minimal time commitment

Participants in the AAVMC-SOCI will be official members of the SOCI Advisory Community. We aim to make your participation as easy as possible given your busy schedules. Therefore, your participation will involve the following:

  1. Responding to occasional requests for feedback regarding the knowledge and skills that students should be taught in veterinary colleges to best prepare them for day-one practice
  2. Attending the SOCI Advisory Community quarterly virtual meetings (attendance is optional, but encouraged if it fits in your schedule)

How to get involved

If you are passionate about shaping the future of veterinary education and want to contribute your valuable perspective, we invite you to join this initiative by filling out this form. If you have questions or want to learn more about the project, please contact Dr. Julie Noyes at jnoyesataavmc [dot] org (jnoyes[at]aavmc[dot]org).

Together, we can work to bridge any gaps between academic training programs and the evolving landscape of veterinary practice, ensuring that graduates are equipped to provide a spectrum of care that meets the diverse needs of clients and their beloved pets. Your collaboration will not only benefit the profession, but also pave the way for a more inclusive and accessible future for veterinary care.


Bob Kritsberg DVM
November 30, 2023 Permalink

How to prepare graduates to practice.

I'm a retired veterinarian, having practiced for 44 years in a small animal practice in Glendale, AZ. I am also a volunteer on the Investigative Committee to the State Board to review complaints against veterinarians. These opinions are mine There is no doubt in my mind that our profession is changing, and not for the better. It seems these new practicing graduates rely far too much on the staff communicating with the clients rather than doing it themselves. Many believe that when 5 or 6 pm comes around it's time to quit and go home even if there is a client with an emergency close to closing time or an animal is sent home still under the effects of sedation after a late afternoon surgery? It seems we're beginning to act like the human faction of medicine. Why is this? Don't new graduated realize this is a career and not a job? The caring factor, as I choose to call it, has diminished. Thankfully we have Emergency Clinics now so that after hours emergencies can be seen.....although the prices charged seem exorbitant and many people can not afford the care offered. Many veterinarians feel they have met their responsibilities by telling clients to go to an EAC even when the client is unable. Is that what we are evolving to? I'm busy, go someplace else. There are even clinics that require an extra fee to schedule a same day appointment! I probably could go on, but you get my meaning. As I said, the caring factor has gone way down, at least from my perspective, and there isn't enough taught in school about your responsibility as a veterinarian.....the ethics, the need to speak to clients, even when you're busy, and so much more than the medical side. I'll wager no recent graduate has ever considered taking a sick animal on fluids home with them to watch during the night.......because they cared.
Enough of my soap box blabber......

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