The Veterinary Management Group (VMG) has called for leadership, management and business skills to be embedded across the profession, starting with their inclusion in the curricula for both veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. The VMG issued its call as part of its response to the RCVS’ consultation on draft accreditation standards for veterinary degree programmes.
The VMG, which represents all those in leadership and management roles in the veterinary sector, cites changes in the profession and the wide range of career options now open to vets and veterinary nurses, as requiring the development of these highly transferable skills, in addition to clinical practice.
As an example, it recommends the promotion of Professional EMS – an extra-mural study option for vet students, which involves spending time in industry, management or government, rather than in clinical work. The VMG believes that awareness of the availability of this form of EMS is too low with much more emphasis laid on the benefits of a clinically-based EMS.
Commenting on its call, VMG President Richard Casey, said:
“Today’s graduates are emerging into a very different professional environment, one in which they are highly likely to be influencing and even leading colleagues and clients from day one. They also need an understanding of the principles of running a successful veterinary practice.
“We believe that the development of leadership and business skills should be incorporated at the earliest levels of their training and include, for example, discussions of the financial implications of treatment options. These skills will prove very helpful for them as they learn to find their place in practice, grow their own client relationships and develop their interests.
“It’s important to recognise that there are many options for veterinary graduates other than clinical practice and we believe this should be taken into account during their training to enable them to gain a fuller understanding of the paths open to them. Undertaking a Professional EMS is one way to do this and the VMG aims to provide opportunities for students to get involved in management projects in areas including practice finance, people management and development, and marketing.”
He added: “We are also calling for a greater emphasis on leadership and management for vet school staff. We often hear about individuals who are wonderful medics and great with clients, but who need some support in leading their team. We encourage vet schools to support all staff with management responsibilities in developing their skills through accredited leadership training in order to support the provision of better workplaces for all.”