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Temporary EMS requirements

We have introduced temporary EMS requirements for UK veterinary students, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The minimum requirements for each year group are detailed below.

The temporary changes to EMS policy will be kept under constant review and may be subject to further change, as restrictions due to the pandemic are eased and / or reintroduced if there is a second wave of infection. This page will be updated if and when changes are agreed.

Last updated 14 September 2021

(Students who are starting a 4-year course, or who were intercalating during the academic year of 2019-20 and not registered as veterinary students at this time, would be expected to meet the requirements of the year group that they are graduating with when they join/re-join the course.)

Graduating Class of 2022

The requirement of 26 weeks’ clinical EMS has been reduced by 13 weeks, to 13 weeks in total for those graduating in in 2022.

As per RCVS EMS guidance, clinical EMS placements are periods of veterinary work placements, i.e. taking place in a workplace environment. Although we do not currently specify the number of weeks’ EMS that may be in non-clinical work environments, such as research, the aim of EMS is to ‘further practice the animal handling and clinical skills first learned at University, as well as to build up experience of dealing with clients and members of the veterinary team’.

During the pandemic it may be possible to include a limited number of ‘online’ or ‘virtual’ EMS placements as part of this, but these would need to be directly related to a veterinary workplace environment and hours of learning equivalent to that which is being claimed for in terms of weeks. One example is the RCVS Edward Jenner programme recently rolled out to support 3rd year students – the number of learning (CPD) hours for this course has been specifically validated, and the teaching takes place directly within the context of the veterinary practice environment.

Although not currently specified in the EMS guidance, to help clarity and consistency across schools we would envisage around 2-4 weeks of specific online / virtual placements such as this as being suitable as part of the 13 weeks’ EMS veterinary work placements.

Recognising that the reduction in clinical EMS placements may leave some gaps in the intended learning objectives for this cohort, which may disadvantage them when entering the workplace compared to if they had been able to complete the full 26 weeks’ experience, we recommend that students can use online learning resources to support the achievement of their learning objectives. These resources should help students around the learning objectives they may have missed as a result of the reduced EMS requirement, but it is not expected that these are time-bound.

To be clear – this is about using online resources to support students achieving their overall EMS learning objectives, they are not expected to carry out 13 weeks’ worth of online learning in this second category of online work.

Graduating Class of 2023

The requirement of 26 weeks’ clinical EMS has been reduced by 13 weeks, to 13 weeks in total for those graduating in in 2023.

Recognising that the reduction in clinical EMS placements may leave some gaps in the intended learning objectives for this cohort, which may disadvantage them when entering the workplace compared to if they had been able to complete the full 26 weeks’ experience, we recommend that students can use online learning resources to support the achievement of their learning objectives. These resources should help students around the learning objectives they may have missed as a result of the reduced EMS requirement, but it is not expected that these are time-bound.

To be clear – this is about using online resources to support students achieving their overall EMS learning objectives, they are not expected to carry out 13 weeks’ worth of online learning in this second category of online work.

During the pandemic it may be possible to include a limited number of ‘online’ or ‘virtual’ EMS placements as part of this, but these would need to be directly related to a veterinary workplace environment and hours of learning equivalent to that which is being claimed for in terms of weeks. One example is the RCVS Edward Jenner programme recently rolled out to support 3rd year students – the number of learning (CPD) hours for this course has been specifically validated, and the teaching takes place directly within the context of the veterinary practice environment.

Although not currently specified in the EMS guidance, to help clarity and consistency across schools we would envisage around 2-4 weeks of specific online / virtual placements such as this as being suitable as part of the 13 weeks’ EMS veterinary work placements.

The pre-clinical EMS requirements for those due to graduate in 2023 was  amended to allow for 50% of the 12 weeks pre-clinical EMS to be completed through appropriate online resources. Therefore students would have been expected to have completed at least 6 weeks of pre-clinical EMS placements in person (in a workplace environment), with the learning outcomes which would have been achieved on up to 6 weeks of pre-clinical EMS, to be achieved through online resources. 

Graduating Classes of 2024 

The clinical EMS requirement for those due to graduate in 2024 currently remains at the standard requirement of 26 weeks.  This requirement will continue to be considered going forward in the periodic reviews.  

The pre-clinical EMS requirements for those due to graduate in 2024 was  amended to allow for 50% of the 12 weeks pre-clinical EMS to be completed through appropriate online resources. Therefore students would have expected to have completed at least 6 weeks of pre-clinical EMS placements in person (in a workplace environment), with the learning outcomes which would have been achieved on up to 6 weeks of pre-clinical EMS, to be achieved through online resources.

Graduating Classes of 2025 

The pre-clinical EMS requirements for those due to graduate in  2025 has been amended to allow for 50% of the 12 weeks pre-clinical EMS to be completed through appropriate online resources. Therefore students will be expected to have completed at least 6 weeks of pre-clinical EMS placements in person (in a workplace environment), with the learning outcomes which would have been achieved on up to 6 weeks of pre-clinical EMS, to be achieved through online resources. The objectives will be agreed individually between the student and tutor.

The library of animal handling resources is available to students now.

The requirement for clinical EMS will be considered if necessary once the cohort enters the clinical years in 2022.

Graduating Classes of 2026

The pre-clinical EMS requirement for those due to graduate in 2026 will be the standard requirement of 12 weeks.  This requirement will continue to be considered going forward in the periodic reviews.  

Footnote

Please note that the temporary amendments to EMS policy above have been introduced in recognition that EMS placements have mostly been unavailable during lockdown, and fewer opportunities may be available as the pandemic continues. However, if students can safely access more than the minimum number of EMS weeks outlined above, we would urge them to do so as this experience is invaluable for their professional development.