Article Text


On course
  1. Dan Humphries and
  2. Kirsty Ranson


Vetskills, a new CPD programme from XLVets, used ‘working under pressure’ as the theme for a recent training day that included situational awareness and skid pan driving. Participants describe how they got on.

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Why did you do the course?

‘The title – Learning What Vets and Fighter Pilots have in Common – appealed to me’, says Dan Humphries of Lambert, Leonard and May. ‘The course was a good one, and it was certainly different from any other CPD I've done before. Ex-fighter pilot, Tug Wilson, provided a refreshingly new approach to the world of situational awareness and dealing with conflict.

‘Having a knowledge of situational awareness and how take a step back to appreciate the bigger picture is an important tool in any veterinary surgeon's arsenal, especially for recent graduates like myself.’

He continues: ‘Day 2 was entirely different; based at an airfield just south of York, it began with an appraisal of our driving skills on the road by an advanced driving instructor. After initial fears that my licence would be revoked had been quelled, it turned out to be very useful, and offered plenty of hints and tips on keeping the car on the road.


The course included an appraisal of driving skills

‘The afternoon, however, was about preparing for situations where you're about to run out of road – an afternoon of drifting cars round a skid pan, with instruction provided by ex-racing drivers.’

What part of the course did you find most useful?

Kirsty Ranson, of Westmorland Vets, says: ‘Dealing with situations under pressure, using real-life examples – realising what I do wrong and discussing how to change it in the future. I came away from the CPD with a tool kit of ideas to help get me out of a variety of situations.’

Dan King, of Bishopton Vets, adds: ‘I found the driving aspect of the course most useful. I think some of the simple rules I learnt on the course could really help, especially in the winter months ahead.’

What will you be doing differently as a result?

Kirsty continues: ‘Taking a step back from situations and thinking about how to deal with them in a logical fashion.’

And Dan says: ‘I will be using “PACE” in a difficult situation where there is something I would like to change. I will also try to stand back in a situation and give myself time to plan how I will deal with a problem – tackling the most imminent/critical issue first.’

(PACE: Probe [ask questions]; Alert [alert the other party to consequences]; Control [propose your plan and an alternative]; and Extreme [if the situation is extreme and efforts through PAC have been unsuccessful, insist on a better course of action rather than put yourself, the client, or the animal in danger].)

Further details from XLVET Training Services, telephone 01765 608489.

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