Veterinary Education: Then and Now

The state of veterinary education and how
it’s changed? I guess that’s a good question for somebody that’s old like me
because I’ve been doing this for 40 years now, or almost 40 years. And
I would say that probably the biggest change is as our colleges have
changed over time and our teaching hospitals have changed to become focused
more on the kinds of cases that veterinarians need help with, the kinds
of cases that are best to train specialists with, that we lost what we
had certainly 20 years ago, which was a primary care caseload that the students
were being trained on. And so the students are now
being trained mostly on secondary and tertiary care cases, which is fine for
solving problems and teaching them how to be good problem solvers or develop
clinical reasoning skills, but it isn’t very good at developing the pattern
recognition that’s necessary for the day-to-day things that they’re
going to be doing when they, that most of them, are going to be doing when
they graduate. And so I think what we’re seeing now is going back to the way it
was 25 or 30 years ago, in trying to now figure out a way of developing that
primary care caseload — and then developing the educational experience — so
the students are exposed to a lot more of those primary care cases and the
secondary and tertiary care cases are used to augment that education and then
to train the residents.

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