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Learning doesn't stop at university
  1. Stephen May

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One of the key elements of a profession that distinguishes it from other ways of earning a living is the obligation on its members to keep themselves up to date in relation to their chosen area of practice. Stephen May, of the Royal Veterinary College, explains why learning doesn't stop at university

OUR ‘social contract’ privileges us with the exclusive right to carry out acts of veterinary surgery, but, in exchange, we agree to provide a science-based clinical service focused on the interests of the animals that we treat and their owners and keepers.

From our first days as veterinary students, we realise that mastery of the range of knowledge and skills required is a formidable challenge. This has been made more so, in the latter decades of the 20th century and the early 21st century, as a result of the acceleration of progress in knowledge and the availability of advanced technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of the animals committed to our care. It was never realistic to expect notes taken at university to remain current for more than the briefest of moments in our professional careers. However, students now have to recognise that the information delivered in the early years of their programme may be outdated by the time they reach their clinical years!

It has been a long time in the UK since medical practitioners have been …

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