Of Evidensia Denmark’s eight clinics, all care for small animals. Two are mixed practices that also see horses, and one treats cattle too. This gives the country’s 122 employees such a wide range of experiences and skills that Evidensia Denmark has been keen to find ways to share their knowledge across the group.
Denmark’s annual Evidensia Day does just that, by offering everyone a chance to meet up professionally and socially. While attendance is voluntary, the vast majority of employees go along every year. “They all want to be part of something bigger,” says Country Manager Ulla Pless. “Teamwork is something that is highly appreciated, as are education, development and sharing best practice. But we have found that most are motivated by the ways that we are looking at educating the next generation of vets.”
“While I was excited about sharing my knowledge, it was also a chance to present to my peers.” Frederik Althoehn – Karlslunde Hospital
The standard approach to continuous professional development is for senior staff to share knowledge and experience with newcomers. After all, newly graduated vets have still to experience work out in the field – often in the most literal sense! Yet Denmark has chosen to do something different with its Evidensia Days. Senior vets give talks about their specialist fields, but younger vets are also encouraged to give presentations.
While this might seem counter-intuitive, the benefits have been clear. “It was a conscious decision to help boost the confidence and skills of our newer vets,” explains Ulla. “They often want to share what they have learned and one way of doing that is by giving presentations. In time, they will almost certainly have to talk in front of strangers or much larger audiences, so getting a chance to do it in front of ‘the family’ is a safe way for them to get over their nerves.”
At the moment, Evidensia Denmark is planning an Evidensia Day workshop for referral colleges that are not part of the group. Seeing that even Evidensia’s newest graduates have the confidence to talk about their work does much to demonstrate the energy and dedication that goes into training them.
Finally, with veterinary medicine advancing all the time, talks from recently graduated vets can give more established vets insights into the newer technologies and techniques they might not know about.
Frederik Althoehn graduated from Copenhagen University in March 2017. He says, “I had only been working in Karlslunde small animal hospital for 12 months when I attended my first Evidensia Day. I had been asked by my supervisor, Jonas Overgaard, to talk about acute respiratory distress because Karlslunde is a referral hospital in the event of such emergencies. While I was excited about sharing my medical knowledge, it was also a chance for me to present to my peers, which was a very rewarding experience.”