Module code: VMS1002

Module Overview

This module will introduce you to a range of topics, also known as non-technical graduate attributes and informed by the “RCVS Day One competences”, which are essential to a successful veterinary career. These topics include: lifelong learning, working in teams, assessing evidence from the literature, self-care and stress management, communication skills, professionalism, professional ethics and acting on feedback. Teaching and learning is through online, supported self-learning, active learning workshops, self-directed activities and reflective exercises.

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

MITCHLEY Judith (Vet Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: D100

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Stress recognition and self-management, when and where to seek help and / or advice

Time management and resources available to help

Critical thinking and literature evaluation, levels of evidence

Evaluation of evidence – library modules, avoiding plagiarism, SPLASH modules

Overview of the vet profession and career options

Career success and goal setting

What is a veterinary professional? Development of a professional identity

RCVS Vet ethics and certification guidelines

Social media and professionalism including email etiquette

Core Communication: skills: empathy, reflective listening, nonverbal cues and open-ended enquiry.

Calgary Cambridge model of communication plus concepts of relationship centredness: shared understanding, shared decision-making.

Scientific practice, lifelong learning, value of research

Principles of feedback

Ethical frameworks

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION 20
Oral exam or presentation COMMUNICATION HISTORY TAKING (is also a practical based assessment) 20
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) E-POSTER 10

Alternative Assessment

Reflective portfolio component will be resubmitted on 2 different topics (1 from weeks 1-3 and 1 from weeks 4-6)   

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Learned methods of personal reflection

Learned ability to research a topic, critically evaluate their research and develop their academic writing skills

Learned ability to develop communication skills

Development of habits showing responsibility for their own learning outcomes and time management.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Reflective portfolio 1 – 10%

Reflective Portfolio 2 - 10%

Individual presentation – 20%

Communication history taking - 20%

E-Poster - 10% (Group Work)

Written examination – 30%

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment and feedback available on reflective portfolios and presentation technique

Feedback given during communication workshops 

Feedback on pre-class MCQs, and during all active workshops

Module aims

  • Support learners in developing the skills required for success in a career in veterinary medicine. Specific emphasis will be made to becoming a "lifelong learner".
  • Support learners in developing skills that facilitate effective interaction and collaboration with others, in the context of a veterinary healthcare environment.
  • Support learners in developing the skills involved in locating, appraising and applying evidence-based research.
  • Support learners in recognising signs of unhelpful stress, and to develop skills to reduce, remove or work with stressful situations.
  • Introduce the topic of professionalism and the rights and responsibilities of a veterinary surgeon.  
  • Introduce the importance of effective interpersonal communication in veterinary medicine.
  • Support learners in developing core communication skills. 
  • Introduce learners to the main career paths that are available to veterinary graduates.
  • Support students to recognise and act on constructive feedback, and to be able to deliver constructive feedback
  • Introduce students to ethics and it's relevance to the veterinary profession
  • Support learners in understanding the construct of a veterinary consultation
  • Support learners in developing a good history taking technique

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the relevance of “lifelong learning” to a veterinary professional – RCVS 14 KC
002 Describe concepts relevant to lifelong learning e.g. Kolb's cycle and reflection – RCVS 14 KC
003 Describe own approach to learning and recognise potential challenges – RCVS 14 KC
004 Describe ways to overcome common roadblocks to learning – RCVS 14 CT
005 Describe the steps involved in researching a clinical question – RCVS 9, RCVS 10, RCVS KU1 K
006 Demonstrate information location and evaluation skills – RCVS 9, RCVS 10, RCVS KU1 CPT
007 Discuss the five principles of practice, as listed in the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct – RCVS 2 KC
008 Explain the professional responsibilities of a veterinary surgeon, as listed in the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct – RCVS 2 KC
009 Demonstrate effective presentation techniques - RCVS KU11 P
010 Demonstrate the ability to convey complex information to a lay-audience - RCVS 5 CP
011 Describe what is meant by effective communication e.g.: appropriate interpersonal non-verbal behaviour; open and closed questioning; active listening; reflective listening; empathic communication (verbal and nonverbal), RCVS 5, RCVS KU11 KPT
013 Explain major categories of ethical frameworks RCVS 2, RCVS KU12 K
014 Discuss the relevance of ethics to the Veterinary Profession RCVS 2, RCVS KU12 KC
015 Describe what factors can contribute to stress in the veterinary profession – RCVS 12, RCVS 13 KC
016 Discuss the practical, effective coping strategies that can be used in dealing with stress  – RCVS 8, RCVS 12, RCVS 13 CPT
017 Describe what forms of mental health and wellbeing support are available to undergraduate veterinary students – RCVS 13 K
018 Discuss the five core components and three coordinating mechanisms of teamwork, according to Salas et al., 2005 – RCVS 7 K
019 Explain practical skills involved with effective teamwork – RCVS 7, RCVS 14, RCVS KU11 CPT
020 Describe the different career paths that are available to veterinary graduates – RCVS 14 K
012 Demonstrate the ability to take a history from an owner by asking open questions and building a rapport - RCVS 5 and RCVS KU11 KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 34

Independent Study Hours: 84

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

The module will introduce the veterinary profession and give the student tools to enable them to deal with some of the personal and financial stresses that accompany veterinary training. As well the student will gain insight into accessing the literature and assessing evidence to help in their problem-based learning in other subjects and as a basis for practising evidence based-decision making.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Flipped classroom workshops 

Workshops for communications, and

Use of simulations for communications training

Online modules on information and study techniques via the library Splash resource

Self-directed study to encourage reflection and experiential learning

Seminars to encourage presentation and defence of opinions

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary Medicine and Science BVMSci (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.