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Research comment
Reflection and the veterinary profession: a critical challenge for everyone
  1. Liz Mossop
  1. Deputy vice chancellor, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK
  1. email: lmossop{at}

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If you are a UK-based vet who graduated in 2007 or later, you will have experienced completing the RCVS’ postgraduate development record (PDR) – the online tool used to record progress and development during the postgraduate development phase (PDP). Many vets will have also been involved in mentoring new graduates while they engage in this activity and transition into practice life. Whatever your role, it is likely that you have a view on the effectiveness of this approach to supporting new graduates.

At January’s RCVS council meeting,1 the committee approved the next steps in the ongoing review of the PDP. This work forms part of the graduate outcomes consultation that was initiated following the RCVS and BVA Vet Futures project. In 2016, the Vet Futures project group produced an action plan outlining a vision for the veterinary profession for 2030,2 and, unsurprisingly, this included a number of recommendations around veterinary education (both undergraduate and postgraduate). Among these recommendations was a ‘focus on reflective practice’ – covering both how these skills are developed in our undergraduate students and ensuring they remain a key element of the immediate postgraduate phase and beyond.

It is encouraging to see how action on this recommendation is being informed by a number of stakeholders, and Warman’s paper,3 summarised on p 347 of this issue of Vet Record, is a helpful addition to the discourse with its specific focus on the PDP. In this study, Warman uses a qualitative methodology – involving RCVS documentation, face-to-face interviews and the graduates’ PDRs – to understand the reflective activity of 15 recent graduates.

The picture that emerges is that of the formal PDP being overlaid (and often superseded) …

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