Our program is thoughtfully designed to advance existing skills and prepare veterinarians for an exciting and rewarding career in emergency medicine.
Program Goals and Approach
There is an increasing national shortage of emergency room veterinarians, with a growing demand of more than thirty percent over the past five years. Between the years 2016 – 2018, hundreds of hospital managers reported that they had been unable to fill half of their open emergency room positions, in some cases for more than a year. Traditional rotating internship programs are broad in nature, working to provide exposure to multiple areas of practice, and prepare veterinarians for potential future residency positions. While tremendously valuable experiences, these programs are not designed to help prepare veterinarians to be successful emergency clinicians in a busy, multi-specialty ER environment. With this in mind, veterinary organizations are now seeking to develop alternatives to the traditional internship/residency path.
The Ethos Veterinary Emergency Training (E-VET) program seeks to address the challenges outlined above, and has been developed around a curriculum of core competencies identified as essential for an emergency veterinarian. The program is a competency-based program that tracks skills through online learning, simulations, and case management to provide measures of success. E-VET is focused on clinical and professional skills, communication skills, and life/work balance to effectively address some of the underlying reasons for the current shortage of ER doctors.
Evidence-based Approach to Learning
Our program is built using a curriculum-based approach that extends beyond the typical apprenticeship model of clinical training. The curriculum has been designed using an evidence-based strategy identifying competencies and skills successful emergency clinicians must acquire. These attributes are assessed by utilizing mastery standards developed by a team of educational specialists and content experts. Our unique program combines a hybrid training approach through simulation-based didactic components, and authentic training experiences with live patients.
E-VET is a competency-based program that tracks skills through online learning, simulations, and case management to provide measures of success. The program strives to ‘reinvent’ the use of case logs with a focus on trainees being able to perform skills without assistance, rather than a preset number of cases. Within the tracking system, each case type is accompanied by a list of medical knowledge and procedural skills that are associated with the case type. Once the trainee can verify performing each skill without assistance, they will be deemed competent in the management for that case type.
We have developed an online learning program with our learning partner VetBloom that provides the opportunity to develop skills and gain medical knowledge. The online program consists of numerous modules covering distinct topics. As trainees complete levels for each module they achieve digital milestones, or “badges”. Trainees will have a digital wallet/portfolio where all of the badges are stored. Since clicking the badge shows relevant information regarding the achievement, trainees can both track their learning, and share their achievements/competencies with future employers.
Simulations have become a primary tool in helping trainees develop communication and professional skills in healthcare training programs. One of the training mechanisms for these skills in our program is a synchronous simulation platform that allows participants to become avatars within the context of a veterinary hospital. The platform allows trainers to assume the avatar of a client, staff member, or colleague and create a clinical scenario representing a set of conditions that mirror real life medical situations. This tool enables the instructor to provide real-time feedback on a trainee’s response, phrasing and efficiency during specific clinical scenarios.
In recognition of the fact that people learn in different ways, our program ensures the trainee have access to a variety of different learning tools. Trainees will have access to all the training modules in the Vetbloom learning site, and will be expected to participate in weekly topic rounds, monthly journal club, assigned book chapter readings, hands on procedure labs, morbidity/mortality rounds, grand rounds – presentations, and attend conferences (IVECCS, ACVIM).
Clinical Trials: Ethos has numerous ongoing clinical trials. While it is unlikely that trainees will have time to design and conduct their own prospective clinical trials during the course of the training program, there are services available within Ethos to aid trainees in the design and planning of trials for interested individuals. There is also the opportunity and support for trainees to conduct retrospective studies and to write review articles.
Surgical Experience: All trainees are encouraged to get hands on surgical experience; however, this is not a requirement of the program beyond familiarity with the procedures and when they are indicated. Individuals with surgical interest will be provided ample opportunities to both assist and perform surgical procedures under the supervision of the program mentors or a Board-certified Surgeon.
Rotations in other departments: There will be a total of 11 weeks of rotations through the various specialty departments in the hospital in addition to the various ER rotations. You will never be alone on a shift.
Training and Contract Agreement
The 9-month program features rolling start and end dates. It takes place at Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn, MA, a suburb north of Boston. Following the program, trainees transfer to an Ethos hospital where they will receive continued mentorship and work an additional 2 years per the contract agreement.