Our governing body, the RCVS, insist all vets have to have basic skills in all species (omnicompetent they call it) when they qualify and this has been the case for many years. In reality most vets will end up in one type of practice or another e.g. equine or small animal. Students can select different modules during the course if they know which area they are interested in, but they still have to pass exams on everything. This situation may change over the coming years but one thing that has changed in the last 10 years is the range of other skills the universities are teaching.
These include consulting room skills, communication skills etc and some business skills. Whether we like it or not, virtually every vet will end up in a business which, as well as caring for the animals, has to run as a business as well.
Nottingham university run a Business Day where the students are given a fictional practice to financially run. Groups of students are led by a mentor (Michael went from this practice) and by the end of the day the students have to submit various things such as business plans, advertising and stock control to be scored. They also have to present to a ‘Dragons Den’ of investors to try and secure funding for their project.
It is a real eye opener for the students and a useful exercise for them as they prepare for practice although some of them say they never want to go anywhere near running a business or any accounts ever again!!