World-renowned veterinary specialist gives her take on Vets Now’s innovative routes into ECC

Amanda Boag is a well-known and respected figure throughout the veterinary profession.

It’s perhaps unsurprising given her incredible career journey since graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1998 — and the fact she is president of the RCVS, inaugural president of the European College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care and a past president of the European Society of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

But did you know Amanda, who is board certified in both internal medicine and ECC, is also the architect of Vets Now’s innovative Edge induction programmes?

“I devised our first Edge programme, Cutting Edge, in 2010 and it’s been a real success story,” explained Amanda, who undertook small animal internships at both the Royal Veterinary College and the University of Pennsylvania following her graduation.

“It came about because we recognised that some vets, particularly those in the early stages of their careers, wanted to work in ECC but didn’t necessarily have the confidence, skills and training to make the transition.

“It’s a combination of knowledge teaching and skills teaching. It also involves being mentored in our clinics and discussing and reflecting on real cases.

“In more recent years we have also launched Refresh Your Edge, which is a distance learning programme for more experienced vets, Nursing Edge, which is designed for nurses who want to work in emergency and, more recently, the fast-track programme AdvantEdge.”

Since the first group of vets embarked on Cutting Edge eight years ago, the programme has proven itself to be a hugely popular route into working for Vets Now, and ECC in general.

More than 100 vets have gone on to become highly-skilled ECC veterinary professionals as a result.

But the 10-week residential programme does not suit everyone, and that’s why Refresh Your Edge and AdvantEdge were established.

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“We recognised there was a group of people who were more experienced and already possessed a substantial level of knowledge, but had, perhaps, taken time out of the profession to start a family or whatever,” added Amanda, who also spent eight further years at the RVC, where she undertook a residency and worked as a lecturer in ECC.

“Our research suggested that while they wanted to do emergency work, they felt they’d benefit from extra training and support before taking sole charge in an emergency setting.

Refresh Your Edge lasts 12 weeks and combines distance learning webinars, e-learning modules, residential weekends and mentored work within our clinics while AdvantEdge provides a more accelerated route into a career in ECC.”

The aim of both programmes, Amanda added, is to help smooth the transition for vets looking to embark on a career in ECC.

“In their first year, all our Edge vets work in close collaboration with the senior vet in their clinic,” she continued. “They’ll also quickly learn about our open, supportive clinical culture and discover there are structures in place to ensure they can always access advice and never feel alone.

“For those looking to continue to develop their ECC skills we also actively support our vets to undertake their certificate and achieve advanced practitioner status.

“There will also be lots of other CPD opportunities, including a free 12-week online course called the emergency patient which all new staff can sign up to.”

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Vets who win a place on Cutting Edge are paid a salary of £40,000 from day one, plus a regional allowance where applicable, and this salary is reviewed at the end of the 10-week induction.

The salary paid to more experienced AdvantEdge and Refresh Your Edge graduates is likely to be higher but reflective of each vet’s skills and expertise as well as the clinic they are based in.

There are regular intakes for all four Edge programmes throughout the year. To find out more click here.