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Unit information: Professional Studies 1 in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

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
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)

All other units in BVSc 1

Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Unit Information

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, entrepreneurship and business finance.

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 and business finance 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.

Your learning on this unit

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

How you will learn



Practical classes

Technology-enhanced learning

Reflective journal

How you will be assessed

  • 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.


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. VETS14000).

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.