Anthony Roberts

RCVS launches online leadership programme

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has now launched the Edward Jenner Veterinary Leadership Programme to encourage everyday leadership skills within the veterinary professions.

This programme is part of the wider RCVS Leadership Initiative, launched in April at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress in Birmingham, and inspired by the Vet Futures project. The overall aim is to integrate development of leadership skills into veterinary professionals’ continuing education.

“I really enjoyed this course! I feel like my perspective on personal growth and self-awareness has been shifted. The learning models presented were new to me and I think they are invaluable tools. This is a wonderful course for vets at all stages of their career,” Audrey Ruple MRCVS, Assistant Professor of One Health Epidemiology, Purdue University

The Edward Jenner Veterinary Leadership Programme runs as a MOOC (massive open online course) and is hosted on the well-established FutureLearn digital education platform. The programme is now accepting registrations for a new cohort of learners to begin the first of three courses on 26 November. A ‘sign-up’ email has been sent out to all veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses ahead of the course starting.

This course is the result of a collaboration between the RCVS and the NHS Leadership Academy. By adopting a range of conventional and innovative teaching techniques, the course aims to emphasise the importance of leadership by helping to foster the range of skills that underpin it.

This includes building confidence around the everyday aspects of leadership, such as the active application of decision-making, growing resilience, implementing an inclusive culture and encouraging reflective learning approaches.

“This has been a great experience; I have looked forward to spending the time out to do it. It hasn’t felt like a course but an interactive learning exercise that has given me time to reflect on myself and how I can impact on others, it has also help me accept who I am and am how I am developing in my role. I would recommend this course to someone who really enjoys deep thinking and self-awareness,” Sally Coles RVN

One of the course’s most popular aspects is its audio drama, which follows the lives of veterinary professionals living in the fictional county of Glenvern. The stories that depict the characters’ working lives seek to reveal the diverse leadership challenges that veterinary professionals face on a day-to-day basis. This in turn prompts the listener to reflect, consider how they would respond, and learn from their own experiences as well as those of other people.

The programme comprises two free-to-access courses and an optional paid for assessment. The first course was piloted this summer, with over 550 veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, students and practice managers helping to develop and refine the material, whilst a group of learners are currently piloting the second course in the series.

Given the overwhelmingly positive feedback received on the first course (as shown by the feedback quotes shown throughout this page) the RCVS have now opened the programme to all veterinary professionals. The first course in the programme will begin on 26 November and the second course will open in January, once the second stage of piloting is complete.

“This course really highlighted leadership qualities that are often taken for granted. The course demonstrates that you do not need a status position in order to demonstrate effective leadership even though status positions are often where we look for leadership. I would recommend this course to both vets and nurses in clinical practice,” Simon Patchett, MRCVS, veterinary surgeon at Vets Now 24/7 Emergency and Specialty Hospital, Glasgow

Commenting on the roll out of the leadership programme, RCVS Director of Leadership and Innovation, Anthony Roberts (pictured above), said: “I am very pleased to be able to announce the launch of this programme. I would urge anyone with an interest in developing their leadership skills, as well as those looking to refine their longstanding leadership skills, to take part.

The feedback we have received on the first course in this programme has shown us that this MOOC has a far-reaching application, and is both educational and enjoyable. Whether you are a vet, veterinary nurse, practice manager or student, this programme will be relevant and useful in your professional career.”

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