Module code: VMS3005

Module Overview

Provides an introduction to the subjects of ethics, law, business management, patient safety and clinical reasoning. Advanced communication skills are covered, including the handling of emotional clients.  

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: D210

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

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Successful completion of all first and second year BVMSci units

Module content

1. Communications

1.1 Client Relationships

1.2 Euthanasia and Bereavement

1.3 Communicating in challenging situations

2. Law

2.1 Legislation governing animals, society and business

3. Business

3.1 Practice management

4. Ethics

4.1 Ethical frameworks and decision making

4.2 Ethical dilemmas

5. Clinical reasoning

5.1 How veterinary surgeons make clinical decisions

6. Clinical Governance

6.1 How does being human affect our practice?

6.2 How can patient safety within veterinary practices be improved?

7. Pharmacy Practice

7.1 The safe handling, storage and disposal of medicines

7.2 The Cascade and withdrawal periods

7.2 The safe handling and disposal of clinical waste

8. Careers

8.1 Explore different career paths open to veterinary graduates

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) BUSINESS PROJECT 15
Pass/Fail competencies CLINICAL SKILLS PORTFOLIO (OSCE) Pass/Fail
Oral exam or presentation ORAL PRESENTATIONS 25

Alternative Assessment

Where students have ECs for the business project or where resits are required for whatever reason, a business report will need to be written by each individual during the next available exam period  

Assessment Strategy

Formative assessment of participation in above for first topic

Business project – 15%

Oral Presentations - 25%

Written examination – 60%

Clinical Skills Portfolio (OSCE) – PASS/FAIL

Further information on Qualifying Conditions

To pass the module, students are required to achieve a weighted aggregate mark of 50% and pass 80% of stations within the clinical skills portfolio

Module aims

  • Introduce concepts of practice management and entrepreneurship
  • Introduce concepts of clinical reasoning process and development
  • Explore factors affecting patient safety and how excellence in clinical care can be optimised
  • Give students an understanding of bereavement and the euthanasia process
  • Further develop communication skills when dealing with difficult situations
  • Further develop students understanding of ethics and their ability to make ethical decisions
  • Further develop students understanding of the legal responsibilities of veterinary surgeons
  • Further explore career options for veterinary graduates
  • Develop students understanding of the requirements of pharmacy practice, clinical waste management and the need for pharmacovigilance

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Accurately apply legislation regarding animals, society and business to a variety of situations - RCVS 2, 3, 26 KU7  KCPT
002 Demonstrate strategic thinking, innovation and entrepreneurial skills within a veterinary context -  RCVS 3   KCPT
003 Demonstrate the ability to communicate successfully in a variety of challenging situations - RCVS 5, 6, 23, 34, KU11   KPT
004 Critique the various methods of clinical decision making - RCVS KU1   KC
005 Make recommendations for the improvement of patient safety using knowledge of human factors and clinical governance - RCVS 10   KCP
006 Demonstrate ability to use ethical frameworks to inform decision making in professional and animal welfare matters - RCVS 2, KU12   KCP
007 Demonstrate understanding of the requirements for the safe handling, storage and disposal of veterinary medicines and the need for pharmacovigilance RCVS KU 8, RCVS 27, 28, 29 KCPT
008 Demonstrate understanding of the requirements for the safe handling and disposal of clinical waste RCVS 3 KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Lecture Hours: 26

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

·         Provide many opportunities for communication skills development in high fidelity settings in order to contextualise learning

·         Provide extensive opportunity for group work and discussion

·         Provide a holistic and 'hands-on' experience of buying and running a veterinary practice

The learning and teaching methods include:

·         Lectures, flipped classroom, small group sessions, simulation with actors, extended group work, team-based learning


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) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% and pass 80% of stations within the clinical skills portfolio is required to pass the module. The pass mark of the stations will use regression standard setting.

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.