Restructuring the ACVS Certifying Examination Process – Continued
In a previous Cut to the Point article, I provided an overview of the process that we have engaged in while re-evaluating the ACVS examination process. First, I think we need to keep in mind that any changes should be done to strengthen training of residents. At the June meeting of the Board of Regents, the Regents agreed that all activities of the ACVS should support the following standard: ACVS board-certified surgeons provide the highest quality of surgical care for all animals. Therefore, any changes in the examination process should advance the scope and quality of training and practice of veterinary surgery.
The primary goal of the ad hoc working group that has been reviewing the ACVS examination process is to ensure that any changes will strengthen the training process. This goal obviously needs to mesh with credentialing requirements and clinical training. The primary objectives of modifying the ACVS examination identified by the ad hoc working group are:
A. Move additional resident learning of critical surgical principles and basic knowledge into direct correlation with their clinical training. This change in timing will allow residents to learn, apply and reinforce these principles throughout their training program.
B. Administer the examination in professional testing centers across the United States. This will allow less travel and expense to examination candidates and less expense for the ACVS to administer a quality examination.
C. Shorten the period from the end of their residency training to the examination. Following complete transition of the examination from the current format to the new two phase examination format, it would be possible for candidates to sit for the final phase of the examination in October of the year they complete their residency, subsequently shortening the period from the end of their residency until the achievement of board certification.
Achieving these objectives will provide more consistent didactic training among residency training programs and will allow residents to integrate this knowledge into their case management. Rather than memorizing a set of facts without any context, progressive learning will reinforce knowledge and enhance retention of information. As with any change, this may require residency programs to adapt. Several years after publication of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin observed that “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” As we move forward, we hope that our residents will exceed us in skill and knowledge and continue to “provide the highest quality of surgical care for all animals.”
I welcome your comments (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dale E. Bjorling, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Chair, ACVS Board of Regents
July 10, 2012