The future stars of veterinary medicine impress judges at ECC Congress in Leeds

This year’s Vets Now’s ECC Congress in Leeds not only offered up a stellar programme of lectures from experienced vets, but also gave a selection of student vets the opportunity to present the case studies they found most rewarding while completing their EMS placements in our emergency clinics or when doing clinical research based on Vets Now data.

More than 200 vet students and have taken part in our extra-mural studies (EMS) programme over the past year and all of them were encouraged to enter a case from their placement into the Vets Now ECC Congress competition.

Image of Vets Now EMS students for Vets Now article on EMS case study presentations
The shortlisted students presented their case studies to a panel of judges at ECC Congress in Leeds.

The shortlisted presentations were submitted by Sarah Moody, Charlotte Mahood, Lucy Carter, Hannah Dodds, Abbie Stoutt and Leah Freeman, who were invited to present their cases to their peers and a panel of judges at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. The finalists were also given a free CPD pass for one of the days, accommodation and an invite to the evening dinner.

The judges, Tobias Grave, specialist in ECC at our hospital in Glasgow, Mike Wickham, managing director of Woodley Equipment, and Shannon Thorell, senior vet in our Kirkcaldy clinic, praised the students for the incredibly high standard of their presentations and said they should all be very proud of what they had achieved.

All the finalists agreed that taking part in the programme and sharing their knowledge at Congress had built their confidence and opened their eyes to the benefits of a career in ECC.

Leah Freeman, a 4th year vet student from the University of Surrey, who won an award for her research abstract, said: “Presenting my work has given me confidence. It’s allowed me to take a bigger step outside of my bubble and it was the perfect environment to do it in.

“It seems quite family orientated at Vets Now. I always thought ECC was a scary thing you had to do on your own but it’s really not.”

Hannah Dodds, a final year student at the University of Glasgow, was announced as the overall student case presentation winner.

After completing her placement at Vets Now’s emergency and specialty hospital in Glasgow, Hannah said that working on the front line of ECC and seeing the variety of cases first-hand would encourage her to consider emergency as a career.

When discussing the presentation, she added: “I’d definitely recommend it. Preparing the presentation makes you think more in-depth about cases you’ve seen and that gives you the confidence to come and speak.”

Image of Vets Now EMS students for Vets Now article on EMS case study presentations
(Left to right) Sarah Moody, Abbie Stoutt, Leah Freeman, Hannah Dodds, Lucy Carter and Charlotte Mahood

Lucy Carter, a student at the University of Liverpool, who did her placement at Vets Now in Portsmouth, echoed this sentiment. She said: “The work I did during my placement was really exciting and fast-paced and it’s made me want to find a job that does it’s own out of hours so I can potentially go into ECC in the future.“

Sarah Moody, who is also from the University of Liverpool and worked in our Lincoln clinic added: “During the placement, I really enjoyed the fact that the decisions we made were so important and we had to act fast and be completely focused on the case in that moment.

“I’d definitely recommend presenting your work. I think it’s a really good way to build your confidence in presenting to different people and audiences, which is a really worthwhile skill in the veterinary profession.”

Abbie Stoutt, a student at the Royal Veterinary College highlighted that her placement at Vets Now in Hemel Hempstead had led her to view her career in a new light. She said: “It showed me that there’s more to being a vet than waking up, going to work, coming home and going to bed. There’s so much more we can do than just clinical work.”

Charlotte Mahood, a fellow Royal Veterinary College student, said: “During my placement at Vets Now’s Glasgow hospital I learned lots of new skills and gained confidence. Knowing that you’re doing as much as you can to help critically ill patients actually takes the pressure off in a sense.”

The Vets Now EMS programme was set up to provide fourth and fifth-year veterinary students with the opportunity to develop outside of the university lecture theatre by spending time working alongside ECC professionals on genuine emergencies.

Aoife Reid, Vets Now’s head of Edge and EMS programmes, said: “At Vets Now, we’re committed to helping vet students develop their skills and confidence and more than 200 people have taken advantage of this opportunity through our EMS placements in the past year.

“The quality of the student case presentations at Congress shows just how beneficial the Vets Now EMS programme is. The judges really were impressed with all the cases presented — everyone was a winner on the day.”

To find out more about our EMS programme click here or email [email protected].