BSAVA expands PDP support for graduates moving into the workplace

23 November 2016

Newly qualified vets, vet nurses and their employers can now access more than 35 new online CPD resources for free via our website.

The ever-expanding Professional Development Phase (PDP) Resource Bank, launched in May to match the PDP requirements of the RCVS, helps graduates to develop professional, business and technical skills.

The bank also offers support to employers who are keen to advance their newest team members, aiming to put continuous professional development at the heart of veterinary practice.

A recent BSAVA survey of graduating BSAVA members found the most common CPD concerns were client consults and client communication, as well as how to maintain a work-life balance that fits the individual as they start a life in practice.

The new resources covering General Professional Skills (GPS) include articles, podcasts, webinars, videos and weblinks, with accessible timings from 15 to 90 minutes, available from November 22 at

Some notable additions include a series of podcasts on time management and working effectively as a member of a multi-disciplinary team by Sarah Page-Jones; plus webinars on ‘Understanding the bottom line and why decisions are made’ by Dr Elizabeth Jackson; ‘Pet Bereavement Care; support in practice’ by Dr Susan Dawson; ‘Stress factors in a veterinary practice’ by John Chitty; and ‘Theory of everything: the emotional and economic pressures of small animal practice’ by Ross Allan.

The PDP Resource Bank will expand further next spring, introducing Practical and Clinical Skills (CPS) with an emphasis on Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) aspects.

Frances Barr, BSAVA Academic Director said: “The PDP Resource Bank will help the whole practice – from supporting and appraising new graduates, to coaching and mentoring staff teams – all aimed at developing an ethos of reflective learning and continuous professional development (CPD) alongside veterinary expertise.

“We have spent a lot of time talking to new graduates and their employers, and we have worked closely with the RCVS Post-Graduate Deans, to produce the most relevant and useful resources possible.”

The BSAVA has set up an editorial board made up of employers and new graduates to guide and develop future resource expansion, particularly in identifying and commissioning material for the upcoming PCS section.

Mary Thomson, RCVS Postgraduate Dean who has supported the PDP Resource Bank and is featured in one of the introductory online videos, said making the transition from undergraduate to fully fledged professional was a challenging time for veterinary surgeons.

“Building strong working relationships with the practice team and further developing professional and communication skills are key to successful graduate development,” she said.

“This stage of career development requires that the mentor and the recent graduate commit to working together for the good of the practice, and I have been delighted to work with BSAVA in the development of these excellent resources which provide helpful CPD support every step of the way.”

The BSAVA PDP Resource Bank allows members to pick and choose those materials most appropriate to their professional development, helping staff members understand the organisation, management and economic pressures of clinical practice, their responsibilities as employees, and building strong communication skills across the business.

Sheldon Middleton, BSAVA Honorary Treasurer and Officer assigned to the PDP project, has recently added a new graduate to his team and said PDP material was ‘particularly useful’ to employers too.

“It is important to try to get a perspective on the new learning cultures and practices that vets graduate from now. Skills such as reflective learning and the approach to mentorship are vital for a smooth introduction of a new graduate into clinical practice and it has improved my own day to day learning process too,” he said.

“My advice to graduates is to ‘go at their own pace’ when using the PDP pages, don’t rush things through because you feel in competition with other people because the whole point of the resource is that it is personal. Also, view things several times and at different points of learning – as you go through your first few years in practice you will gain different perspectives on the same issues.”