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Unit information: Professional Studies 5 in 2021/22

Unit name Professional Studies 5
Unit code VETS36001
Credit points 0
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Slingsby
Open unit status Not open

Completion of BVSc 4


All other units in BVSc 5

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 1-4 and results in an understanding of the complex issues and responsibilities associated with being a veterinary professional.

Communication skills - Teaching on clinical rotations allows coaching in effective verbal and written communication skills in relation to clients and colleagues.

Professional conduct, ethics and law - Work in practices and hospitals on clinical rotations, and in group seminars, allows students to consider professional conduct and apply jurisprudence and ethics.

Business management - Clinical rotations are based in commercial businesses allowing students to witness practical application of business principles. Teaching around fee setting, reward management, relationship management, and working within a veterinary business setting.

Health and safety - The health and safety guidelines of each rotation allows students to apply knowledge gained previously.

Study learning and investigation - Lifelong learning is discussed, including the RCVS requirements and the Professional Development Phase after graduation.

In addition to clinical rotations, there will be group teaching of professional studies-related subjects during the “Professional Studies week”. Teaching during this week will help students develop the skills needed to gain employment after graduation, and to manage the transfer to employment, acknowledging where and when they should request support.

Aims (note that the delivery and assessment of many of these aims is embedded with clinical rotations within the Clinical Veterinary Science Unit):

  • To develop effective skills for verbal communication with colleagues, support staff, junior staff, supervisors and clients through repeated rehearsal and reflection
  • To develop written communication skills to produce accurate and well presented clinical records, reports and information materials
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of the application of the law and the guidelines of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to veterinary work
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of common veterinary business practice management including fee setting, reward management, relationship management, and working within a veterinary business setting.
  • To understand and comply with health and safety legislation and guidelines in clinical settings and make appropriate decisions when confronted with common issues
  • To understand the requirements for lifelong learning and the Professional Development Phase (PDP) of the RCVS
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of those skills require to gain employment post graduation through choice of post, CV preparation, letters of application and interview technique

Intended Learning Outcomes

Note that the delivery and assessment of many of these learning outcomes is embedded with clinical rotations in the Clinical Veterinary Science Unit

Communication skills. Students should be able to:

  • Communicate effectively; verbally with colleagues, support staff and clients, and in writing with detailed letters and reports, worded appropriately for the intended recipient
  • Write accurate, well organised and appropriate clinical notes and detailed reports associated with cases
  • Work effectively within a team to share information and make decisions
  • Demonstrate a good understanding of the skills required to communicate well in a range of more challenging clinical situations

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

  • Identify the skills they need to effectively manage the transition to practice and employment
  • Apply the RCVS code of Professional Conduct to a range of challenging situations in clinical practice and other environments.
  • Reflect on the ethical challenges posed by veterinary work and consider personal approaches to common dilemmas and situations

Business management. Students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a good basic knowledge of business management issues and the complexities of managing veterinary practices and relating to clients as business owners/managers.

Health and safety:

Students should be able to:

  • Assess the relevance of health and safety considerations to clinical situations
  • Work effectively within a team to carry out investigations, share information and make decisions about health and safety
  • Apply knowledge of health and safety to specific clinical situations, relating to all members of the veterinary team
  • Perform risk assessments and COSHH evaluations in practice

Study learning and investigation. Students should be able to:

  • Describe the requirements of the veterinary profession for lifelong learning
  • Describe how the RCVS PDP operates and the learning/continuing-education opportunities outside university
  • Reflect on their personal study skills, personal attributes and interpersonal skills; relate these to the context of the PDP and the RCVS requirements for continuing professional development beyond graduation; and be able to discuss such topics in a professional manner with their personal tutor
  • Reflect on the skills they will require to deal with uncertainty and change in the context of veterinary work as a new graduate and be able to identify sources of help and how and when they would access these.

Teaching Information

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

Assessment Information

As befits the assessment of clinical competence, the assessments in this unit are all bimodal pass/fail.

  • Health and Safety risk assessments for each of their clinical EMS placements, submitted to the EMS office
  • Group tasks set in the Professional Studies week. In the case of absences students will be required to submit a written piece of work at a later date
  • ePortfolio reflective journal entry

Professional skills and attributes will be assessed within clinical rotations as part of the Clinical Veterinary Science unit. Formative feedback will be given.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. VETS36001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.