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Unit information: Professional Studies 3 in 2014/15

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Professional Studies 3
Unit code VETS24001
Credit points 0
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Slingsby
Open unit status Not open

Completion of BVSc 2


All other units in BVSc 3

School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit is vertically integrated with Professional Studies units in Years 1, 2, 4 and 5, allowing continuing development of an understanding of the complex issues and responsibilities associated with being a veterinary professional.

Communication skills - The teaching will facilitate the development of sound and effective communication skills within the context of the veterinary consultation.

Professional conduct ethics and law - Key aspects of UK legislation associated with animal welfare are explored, as well as ethical issues integral to working in veterinary general practice.

Business management - Marketing theory and practice in UK veterinary work are discussed alongside exploration of key concepts in pricing products and services, as well as developing an understanding of the practice team and their roles..

Health and safety - Health and safety law and practice in the UK are elaborated in relation to veterinary work, especially radiation safety, controlled drugs and clinical waste.

Study learning and investigation - Critical evaluation skills are developed in the context of diagnostic tests and clinical cases.


  • To develop understanding of the structure and function of the veterinary consultation
  • To equip students with effective communication skills within the framework of the veterinary consultation
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of key aspects of animal welfare law and its application
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of business marketing and its role in veterinary work
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of key concepts associated with pricing products and services in the context of veterinary business
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of the practice team and the different roles within the team
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of health and safety legislation applicable to veterinary work
  • To develop skills of critical evaluation in relation to diagnostic tests and data from clinical cases

Intended Learning Outcomes

Communication skills. Students should be able to:

  • Describe the NUVACS consultation model and identify the communication skills integral to its application
  • Identify their own and peers skills in gathering and giving information with tutors and trained medical actors

Professional conduct, ethics and law: Students should be able to:

  • Describe the main aspects of both farm and small animal welfare law in the UK applicable to the veterinary profession
  • Discuss how the farm assurance scheme operates and identify stakeholders involved in decision making in this and similar welfare/ethical situations
  • Describe and discuss the nature of animal abuse and its recognition in the UK
  • Discuss ethical issues integral to working in practice prior to EMS clinical placements such as client confidentiality and informed consent

Business management. Students should be able to:

  • Distinguish between marketing products and marketing services
  • Discuss relationship marketing and how a practice can build the practice-client relationship
  • Identify the common marketing methods used by practices and how effective these are for client retention and gaining new clients
  • Discuss how they themselves can contribute to building good client relationships
  • Describe key concepts associated with pricing products and services and apply these to a specific veterinary issue
  • Describe the structure of the practice team and the roles of different members of that team

Health and Safety. Students should be able to:

  • Describe and apply Health and Safety legislation to a wide range of clinical settings
  • Describe Health and Safety legislation and practice in specific situations, notably radiation safety, storage and disposal of medicines (including Controlled Drugs) clinical waste and carcasses, and the storage and transport of tissues

Study Learning and Investigation. Students should be able to:

  • Identify the appropriate critical analyses for differing data sets associated with diagnostic testing
  • Critically evaluate the outcome of diagnostic tests, and demonstrate understanding of the issues of sensitivity, specificity and quality control
  • Create topics for critical appraisal in evidence based medicine searches
  • Critically evaluate the diagnostic and quantitative elements of a clinical paper
  • Reflect on their personal approach to studying and EMS, on the strengths and weaknesses of their techniques, and on changes might increase their effectiveness in these areas

Teaching Information

Lectures, seminars, debate, practicals, computer-assisted-learning, reflective journal

Assessment Information

  • 40 minute multiple choice question type examination - 60%
  • Communication Skills course work - 20%
  • Business Studies course work - 20%
  • ePortfolio reflective journal entry -pass/fail

Reading and References

  • Appleby and Hughes (1997), Animal Welfare, CABI Publishing
  • Back and Back (2007) Managing a Veterinary Practice 2nd Ed, Saunders
  • Gray and Moffett (2010), Handbook of Veterinary Communication Skills, Wiley-Blackwell
  • Jobber (2007), Principles and Practice of Marketing, McGraw-Hill Publishing
  • Rollin (2006), An Introduction to Veterinary Medical Ethics: Theory and Cases 2nd Edition
  • Silverman, Kurtz and Draper (2005) ‘Skills for communicating with patients’, Radcliffe Medical Press