University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine

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Critical Skills of a Veterinary Student/Veterinarian

The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri has a unique curriculum with emphasis on general clinical practice. The curriculum does not permit avoidance of specific species or of physically demanding responsibilities assigned to students. The clinical curriculum centers on the actual medical and surgical care of privately owned animals, the patients.

Because of an obligation to ensure owners that their animals will receive the best medical care possible, certain standards are required of MU veterinary medical students. All students of veterinary medicine must possess those intellectual, ethical, emotional, and physical capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty.

Candidates for the degree, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine must be able to observe demonstrations and perform experiments and dissections in the preclinical portion of the curriculum.

Candidates must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance, and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation. A candidate should be able to speak and hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit client information and describe changes in a patient’s attitude, activity, and posture. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form. Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers.

A candidate should be able to execute movements reasonably required to provide general care, basic surgery, and emergency treatment of patients. Students of veterinary medicine must be capable of providing an acceptable minimum degree of restraint in animals. Since physical injury is an inherent risk of caring for sick and injured animals, students should possess sufficient vigilance, agility, and sensory perceptions to prevent undue danger to the animals being handled, other attendants, and themselves.

Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of veterinarians, requires the intellectual abilities of measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. In addition, a candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of intellectual capabilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of the patient, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and their owners.

Examinations will be given to assess progress and achievement in both the preclinical and clinical curriculum. Examinations must be completed within the scheduled testing time unless a medical or personal hardship precludes a student from taking an examination. Although students with recognized disabilities may be granted additional test-taking time or a special testing environment, the physical constraints of some laboratory or practical examinations may not lend themselves to reasonable accommodations. (Revised by the Committee on Admissions and Scholarship 3/2006)

College of Veterinary Medicine
W-203 Veterinary Medicine Building
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-3554
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Last Update: February 29, 2012