Published: 31 October 2018

Vet School students embark on clinical training placements

Now in its fifth year, the Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine is going from strength to strength with over 500 students now in attendance.

The first cohort of students from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey started their final phase of their undergraduate training in July 2018, embarking on a year of clinical training placements, which comprise the final year of the course.

42 students will be spending eight months on placement within a network of 29 veterinary practices spread across the UK. These clinical training placements (or Intra mural rotations, as they are known) are a vital part of veterinary undergraduate training, and hosting them in private practice provides students with the authentic and relevant experiences necessary to develop their core clinical and professional competences.  

Our fully distributed model of workplace-based clinical education is the first of its kind in the UK.

Dr Mike Cathcart, Director of Clinical Education

Dr Mike Cathcart, Director of Clinical Education at the School, said: “Our fully distributed model of workplace-based clinical education is the first of its kind in the UK.  The ability to immerse our students in the very environments that they will enter into will ensure that they develop the knowledge, skills and attributes required to successfully transition to life as a veterinary graduate”.

“This is a momentous occasion for Surrey, and represents the successful culmination of many years of hard work by everyone at the School. I am looking forward to hearing about our students’ experiences when they return to the University, which they do after every two placements, and of course to get feedback from our partners, as they are so critical to the delivery of this novel model of clinical veterinary education.”

We caught up with fifth year vet student Tom White to hear more about his placement experiences:

How have you found the course at Surrey so far?

I have absolutely loved my time at Surrey. The course has been thoroughly enjoyable with a mix of practicals, lectures and small group teaching workshops from the word go. The teaching staff have been brilliant throughout the course and I feel like I have been really well prepared for both my final year out in practice and graduation, which is suddenly on the horizon! I couldn’t recommend Veterinary Medicine at Surrey more highly.

The first four years of the course build towards this point and it’s great to properly put our knowledge and skills into practice.

Tom White

How do you feel about the start of your fifth and final year?

It’s incredibly exciting to have started my final year. The first four years of the course build towards this point and it’s great to properly put our knowledge and skills into practice. Almost every vet you meet in practice insists that the final year of veterinary school is the most enjoyable and the best learning opportunity you’ll ever get so I’m intent on getting everything I possibly can from the experience!

What are Intra Mural Rotations?

Surrey's Intra Mural Rotations consist of eight four-week blocks. Each four-week block is spent at a different partner practice around the country covering the different species disciplines. Added in to the small animal, equine and farm rotations are opportunities to spend time at Referral Hospitals, the University’s own pathology centre and we also get the chance to explore a special interest such as wildlife, charity practice or dedicated surgical training. Throughout the year you are mentored by vets at the partner practices and dedicated staff at the University who tailor your experience to ensure you get the most out the year.

What are you expecting from your time working in practice with vets?

The next year should really help us prepare for starting out in practice. We have been well prepared in terms of our technical skills and knowledge base and it’s just a case of building on our teaching by practicing more and more under the guidance of our clinical mentors.

What are your aspirations for the future?

If I could find a mixed practice that allows me to work across all the species disciplines to start with I’d be delighted as this might be the best starting point in helping me decide if a specialism is for me. I am keen to use my degree to travel in the near future too with New Zealand right at the top of my list before heading back to the family farm in Somerset and hopefully working in the West Country. I’m really excited for what’s in store, but for the meantime, I am intent on making the most of my last year at Surrey!

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