Distributive veterinary clinical education: a model of clinical-site selection.J Vet Med Educ. 2014 Summer; 41(2):179-88.JV
The distributive model at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine (WesternU-CVM) utilizes third-party clinical sites rather than a traditional on-campus teaching hospital during years 3 and 4 of the curriculum. All veterinary schools are required by the American Veterinary Medical Association's accreditation standards to ensure that students are exposed to a diverse case load of sufficient number with active participation in the diagnostic work-up and treatment of patients. With one centralized teaching hospital, monitoring this aspect of the student experience is relatively straightforward. The distributive model of clinical veterinary education poses several challenges not encountered in a teaching hospital due to the number of clinical sites involved in delivering the curriculum. This article describes a clinical-site and preceptor selection process and the guidelines currently used to evaluate whether clinical sites and preceptors are suitable for initial inclusion in the program at WesternU-CVM. Outcomes data regarding the number and variety of student case exposures, student involvement in case management, and student evaluations of clinical experience are presented. These data suggest that the recruitment and selection process described here results in diverse and ample case-load exposure opportunities in a distributive model of veterinary education.