Veterinary Education: Then and Now

June 27, 2018

Current veterinary education curriculum is reverting back to how it was 25 or 30 years ago, when students were exposed to primary care cases.

Joseph Taboada, DVM, DACVIM, professor and associate dean at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, explains that current veterinary education curriculum is reverting back to how it was 25 or 30 years ago, when students were exposed to primary care cases.

"The state of veterinary education and how it's changed? I guess that's a good question for somebody that's old like me because I've been doing this for 40 years now, or almost 40 years. And I would say that probably the biggest change is that as our colleges have changed over time and our teaching hospitals have changed to become focused more on the kinds of cases that veterinarians need help with, the kinds of cases that are best to train specialists with that we lost what we had certainly 20 years ago, which was a primary care caseload that the students were being trained on. And so the students are now being trained mostly on secondary and tertiary care cases, which is fine for solving problems and teaching them how to be good problem solvers or develop clinical reasoning skills, but it isn't very good at developing the pattern recognition that's necessary for the day-to-day things that they're going to be doing when they, that most of them, are going to be doing when they graduate.

And so I think what we're seeing now is going back to the way it was 25 or 30 years ago, in trying to now figure out a way of developing that primary care caseload — and then developing the educational experience — so the students are exposed to a lot more of those primary care cases and the secondary and tertiary care cases are used to augment that education and then to train the residents."