Skip to main content

Unit information: Professional Studies 1 in 2020/21

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 1
Unit code VETS14000
Credit points 0
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Slingsby
Open unit status Not open



All other units in BVSc 1

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 2, 3, 4 and 5 and allows the initial development of an understanding of the complex issues and responsibilities associated with being a veterinary professional.

Communication skills - Teaching facilitates the development of sound and effective face to face and written communication skills.

Professional conduct ethics and law - Teaching encompasses the principles of ethical decision making and reflects on the concept and implications of professionalism.

Business management - This element explores the structure of veterinary, agricultural and wider business in the UK, and the role of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Health and safety - Teaching facilitates understanding of health and safety law and practice in the UK applicable to agricultural and veterinary environments.

Study Learning and Investigation - Essential study skills are explored, the role of questioning and hypothesis generation introduced, and a reflective approach encouraged.


  • To introduce the concept of, and need for, effective communication skills in a veterinary setting, and to initiate the development of sound skills both verbal and written.
  • To introduce the concepts of ethical decision making and professionalism.
  • To encourage understanding of the role of business in the veterinary world.
  • To equip students with knowledge of health and safety law and practice in the UK.
  • To facilitate appropriate study skills for the BVSc programme, exemplified by a reflective approach to success and failure.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Communication skills. Students should be able to:

  • Describe the role and importance of communication in veterinary work
  • Identify and describe specific communication skills and distinguish between good and poor face to face communication on recorded videotape
  • Produce appropriate written communication to practitioners associated with EMS placements

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

  • Distinguish between the subjects of ethics, law and professional conduct and explain how they are interrelated
  • Describe the frameworks useful for ethical decision making in a veterinary context
  • Discuss the responsibilities and obligations inherent to members of the veterinary profession (including self audit, peer review, and continuing professional development)
  • Discuss the benefits and risks associated with team working and describe how decisions can be reached collectively

Business management. Students should be able to:

  • Describe the way veterinary businesses operate in the UK
  • Identify and describe the role and value of innovation and enterprise in the profession

Health and safety. Students should be able to:

  • Describe how to keep safe in agricultural, veterinary and laboratory environments
  • Identify risks and hazards in agricultural, laboratory and veterinary settings, including those associated with physical, electrical, heat, biological and chemical agents
  • Complete risk assessments associated with pre-clinical EMS placements

Study, Learning and Investigation. Students should be able to:

  • Describe and apply appropriate methods of self study for the varied kinds of learning required on the programme
  • Describe and use appropriate methods available for generating personalised learning materials from lectures, practicals, texts, the internet and other sources
  • Identify sources of information/evidence and identify how they are referred to in scientific reports
  • Describe and use appropriate methods for revision and those approaching MCQ, written and practical exams
  • Generate questions and hypotheses associated with clinical situations and in the context of biomedical and veterinary research
  • Reflect on their personal approach to studying and EMS, on the strengths and weaknesses of their techniques, and on changes that might increase their effectiveness in these areas

Teaching Information



Practical classes

Technology-enhanced learning

Reflective journal

Assessment Information

  • Written/Computer-based exam - 100%
  • ePortfolio reflective journal entry - pass/fail
  • Health and Safety MCQ - pass/fail. This must be passed before starting the pre-clinical EMS placements required by the RCVS, which normally start in the Easter vacation of year 1

Administrative staff will ensure that all students have completed the must-pass MCQ before starting the first of their compulsory EMS placements, and submit a Health and Safety risk assessment for each EMS placement to the EMS office.

There will be an opportunity to resit examinations during the resit period.

Reading and References

Please refer to the central University reading list repository