The RCVS Council has approved a new project to enhance veterinary clinical career pathways in three ways.

The first is the introduction of Specialist training and status for general practitioners in primary care, for which the RCVS project will now develop a new five-year curriculum and an implementation plan.

The RCVS will also be looking closer at the definition of veterinary clinical roles and developing guidance for the profession and wider public on the different clinical career statuses available to veterinary surgeons.

Thirdly, the College will identify different ways in which vets can access the teaching and learning opportunities, clinical experience/cases, supervision and support that is required for them to complete specialist training and obtain RCVS Specialist status.

This will include looking at how access to specialist training can be widened beyond the typical internship/residency model, to include training models more accessible from primary care practice, and for those at different career and life stages.

Kate Richards MRCVS, Chair of the RCVS Education Committee, said: “These exciting and progressive proposals are visionary as far as the career and development structure of the veterinary clinical profession is concerned.

“It means there will be new prospects for those in general practice and those who want to achieve Specialist status by different means, as well as a more defined career structure for the profession that will be clearer to the profession and general public alike.

"With around 75-80% of veterinary professionals working in clinical practice this project will deliver a substantial positive impact. 

“These are the early pages of a very exciting new chapter for veterinary clinical careers, and we will be asking for your help to write it, as we will be holding a number of consultations in the coming years, including on the programme for Specialist in Primary Care and the definition of clinical roles.

RCVS President Dr Sue Paterson FRCVS added: “There are two aspects of the project that I particularly welcome.

"First is the impact this could have on both recruitment and retention as vets are offered additional, and more diversified, career options and expanded roles in a variety of clinical settings.

"Second, as a specialist dermatologist myself, I really value the fact that we will be looking at ways to widen participation and increase accessibility to specialist training from primary care practice, as the residency/internship route is very intensive and not necessarily suitable for everyone. 

A similar process to develop and enhance clinical career pathways for veterinary nurses is now also being considered, this would include the development of an ‘Advanced Veterinary Nurse’ status and clearer information on the veterinary nursing role and what it entails.

PS: Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vets.