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Preparing for Excellence in Veterinary General Practice

The Preparing for  Excellence in Veterinary General Practice Education program is a four-year comprehensive curriculum focused on training students to be practice-ready veterinarians upon graduation. Students receive immersive hands-on training starting in their first year with clinical and communication skills training, and throughout their education, culminating in their fourth year, where students provide primary care in the Frank Stanton Veterinary Spectrum of Care Clinic. The program supports the college’s ambition to Be The Model® comprehensive college of veterinary medicine by delivering an extraordinary and value-driven education that prepares veterinary students to successfully practice broadly across the spectrum of care.


The Spectrum of Care

Each day, veterinarians work to promote animal health and welfare by making safe, effective, and affordable veterinary care accessible to as many animal owners as possible. Veterinarians have a wide spectrum of care options to choose from that encompass a variety of diagnostic and treatment options for their patients.  The care option selected depends on a range of factors, such as cultural experiences of the client, socioeconomic factors, standards of care and the expertise of the veterinarian.

Graphic of an arch, depicting two different spectrums of care at each end

The Preparing for Excellence program advances the practice of veterinary medicine by ensuring that graduate veterinarians are confident, competent, and prepared to practice broadly across the spectrum of care, ranging from technologically advanced and expensive options to less costly ones. 

Learn more about the spectrum of care concept here

From Novice to Doctor

Through immersive hands-on training, students develop broad expertise as they progress from novice to doctor, honing skills through simulations, clinical experience, client interactions, and running an actual practice. This approach helps them develop the confidence and competence they need to practice more broadly across the spectrum of care, offering a wider variety of treatment options to pet owners.  

Program Components

The Preparing for Excellence program provides students with hands-on learning opportunities that develop and refine essential clinical and professional skills, allowing them to provide a wide variety of diagnostic and treatment options for their patients, leading to improved patient outcomes.

line drawing icon with female instructor watching male student use knot tying board at a deskVeterinary Clinical & Professional Skills Center
From the beginning of their time in the program, students begin building the essential skills they will need as graduate veterinarians in our state-of-the-art Veterinary Clinical and Professional Skills Center (VCPSC). Skills are practiced in a safe, low risk environment, utilizing  many types of models that vary from low fidelity models to very intricate, high fidelity, realistic models.



line drawing icon with male veterinarian observing female veterinary student examine dog on tableSpectrum of Care Summer Externship 
This highly competitive 10-week program allows second-year veterinary students to combine intensive educational training with realistic private practice experience. Through observation and performance, students are prepared to work with clients and pets at various socioeconomic levels, while continuing to develop the skills they will use as practitioners. This program augments what students learned in their first year and helps them see that content applied in a clinical setting. Students receive a 10-week stipend and compensation for travel and lodging.


Outreach Medicine
Through community partnerships, students learn spectrum of care principles while working with clients with limited resources whose pets are critical to their wellbeing. Students practice low-stress animal handling skills, technical skills, verbal and written communication skills, and team-centered patient care, often in a resource-limited environment. Students also learn practice management concepts, such as inventory, record-keeping, and budgeting.



Shelter Medicine & Surgery Rotation
Every fourth-year student participates in the Shelter Medicine and Surgery rotation, and at the conclusion each student typically has completed 14-20 procedures as the primary surgeon. With supervision, students are the primary surgeons and anesthetists on spay and neuter procedures, dental extractions, mass removals, eyelid surgeries, hernia repairs, and other soft tissue surgery procedures often encountered in private practice. 




line drawing icon of female veterinary student with books and backpacks and arrow showing movement to same female now dressed as veterinarian with white coat and stethescopeSpectrum of Care Career Area of Emphasis
Students broaden their skill set and confidence by intentionally focusing on small animal general practice in resource-challenged environments. Students refine their surgical, dental, and imaging skills during a two-week “boot camp” prior to completing a four-week community practice rotation. At the end of the year, the students rotate out to private practices, allowing them to put their knowledge and skills into action, while working on a high patient caseload.



line drawing icon of male veterinary student in white coat with stethoscope standing in front of veterinary clinic with block O signage Frank Stanton Veterinary Spectrum of Care Clinic
Starting in their first year and throughout their education, students practice clinical and business skills in a primary care clinic. The program culminates in the fourth year, where students become practice-ready by taking the lead role in providing veterinary care. The students manage patients across the entire spectrum of care, including alternative diagnostic and treatment techniques, in addition to fine-tuning clinical and business management skills. 



Learn more about our program and our commitment to the spectrum of care concept in a recent AVMA View Point Article .