Collaborating with the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) to Address Barriers to Practicing Across the Spectrum of Care
As veterinary students embark on their journey toward becoming skilled and compassionate practitioners, one fear often looms large in their minds: litigation. The mere thought of facing legal challenges and the potential consequences it may have on their professional careers can be paralyzing. This fear creates a significant barrier for students and new practitioners, that may hinder their confidence in practicing across the spectrum of care and providing the best possible support to their patients and clients.
Traditionally, students are trained to provide a "gold standard" of care, which typically involves offering advanced and often expensive forms of treatment, usually accompanied by lots of diagnostic tests. While this approach emphasizes thoroughness and precision, it inadvertently contributes to the misconception that deviating from this "gold standard" equates to providing lesser care, thereby increasing the risk of litigation.
The AAVMC-SOCI Task Force is actively working to combat this misperception. By joining forces with the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), we aim to help inform students and new practitioners about what actually places one at risk for litigation and about how practicing across the spectrum does not equate to providing substandard care. Beth Venit, Chief Veterinary Officer at AAVSB hopes to convey to leaners that, “Veterinary Medical Boards consider Spectrum of Care conversations, and documentation of those conversations, to be integral to the decision-making process and proper medical recordkeeping. They do not require the veterinarian to always follow the "gold standard" if that's not what the client wishes. Good client communication requires a veterinarian to discuss the full spectrum of services to the client, and to create and document a plan that makes the most sense for the patient and client. This documentation is the veterinarian's best resource, should there ever be a complaint and Board investigation.”
As part of this partnership, the SOCI team will be presenting at the AAVSB annual meeting and conference in Kansas City on September 29, 2023. The presentation, titled "A Collaborative Approach to Spectrum of Care: Bridging Education, Regulation, and Practice," aims to bring together stakeholders from the veterinary education and regulatory realms to find ways to improve the preparation of veterinary students to practice across the spectrum of care. By fostering collaboration and open dialogue, the SOCI team hopes to identify strategies and resources that empower future veterinarians to navigate the complex landscape of veterinary medicine with confidence.
Through these collaborative efforts, the veterinary community can take significant strides in addressing the fear of litigation among students and new practitioners. By providing them with the necessary tools, knowledge, and support, we can help alleviate their anxieties and enable them to practice medicine with competence and compassion. Ultimately, this will benefit veterinarians and their patients and clients, as they will be able to focus on delivering the best possible contextualized care without misinformed fears of litigation.
We look forward to the productive discussions and collaborations that lie ahead and to the positive impact we can make on the veterinary profession.