Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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47 February/March 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM 1 that students saw increases in the number of patients treated and procedures performed, received higher ratings from attending phy- sicians in emergency medicine, had higher opinions of their learning experiences, and found greater connectivity with the community. Data reveals that institutions with distributive models graduate more primary care physicians who com- plete their residencies in rural areas. The institutions report that these physicians were more likely to stay in rural areas and practice, thereby advantaging the community and meeting societal needs. When the Western University College of Veterinary Medicine opened in 2003, it offered the first distributive model of veterinary education. (Kudos to Dean Shirley Johnston, the first female dean of a U.S. veterinary college, for champi- oning this model in veterinary edu- cation.) Eleven years later, two new schools — Lincoln Memorial and Midwestern universities — tried their hand at it. All three colleges are unique in their own right, socio- economically and in the degree of distributiveness, geography and curriculum. Lincoln Memorial duplicated the distributive model successfully used at its medical school, the biggest in Tennessee. Getting Started Let's turn back the calendar. It's 2013 and the two of us — Drs. Les- ter and Johnson — and a handful of founding members of the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine set out to launch the admissions process. I, Dr. Lester, am interviewing prospective students at what would eventually become the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center, now an outstand- ing 100,000-square-foot, tech- nologically advanced pre-clinical teaching facility. LMU at that time could offer nothing more but the promise of an engaging experience. "So, why would you choose LMU?" I asked the young woman in front of me, a dynamite, 3.7-plus GPA, highly awarded student with an unreal leadership profile and super communication skills. "Two reasons," she replied. "I want to be able to select my own clinical year experiences and I want to be more hands-on." And so it began, and it has not stopped. In fact, LMU's appli- cation growth rate, only five years in, places Lincoln Memorial in the top 10 of all colleges of veterinary medicine. This year's admissions pool topped 1,700 applicants. Let us share what we have learned and what we firmly believe. What Students Want Students of today are informed, they research and they know what they want. They look for the follow- ing elements, each of which the distributive model lends itself to: Immersion. Veterinary students want to be first in line. They want to touch the animal; it's magic. They want to be hands-on. Flexibility. They want a senior clinical year in which they can take a large chunk of time to do rotations in their specific area of interest. For example, some might want extra equine, or four months of focused research blocks, or a string of surgical referral hospital rotations, or months of exotics rotations, or all mixed animal. The list goes on. Geography. They want to be close to family, friends or a significant other. Some know they want to return to their hometown. They want to explore. LMU has over 250 clinical affiliate partner sites, so where do you want to go? We can get you a curated experience close to home. Experience. Our students live for experiences. Take Airbnb. Who would have thought anyone would pay to sleep on someone's couch? Diverse clinical rotations offer diverse experiences and new cultures in novel locations. Service. Many millennials and Generation Z'ers aspire to work for something greater than themselves. Working at a practice in Appalachia in an underserved location holds great appeal for some students. Verified experiences. Yep. Just like with Trip Advisor, electronic means allow the learner to rate the hospitals they visit and share with future students the per- ceived quality of the experience. A mission. Service to ani- mals and people in diverse socioeconomic areas is important. Students identify with the distribu- tive model's flexibility. They can ex- perience places around the globe. Community integration. This is one we didn't know would come up until after we read all the data. Students dig into the communities in which they are placed for rotations, and they love it. A quicker path to a dream job. These students are, in effect, interviewing each practice where they spend time, and some stay on. They hone their interview and communication skills. Sheer number of cases. Veterinary students know that repetition brings competency and confidence. They want that. In fact, 87 LMU students collectively logged over 64,525 cases in the past year. Completing 957 rotations in 36 states, they each saw an aver- age of 17 cases a week. Oversight and mentor- ship. Students recognize that they will work side by side with experienced, competent, successful veterinarians, many of whom are specialists. The students are not waiting behind a resident and an intern for the hands-on opportunity. New tools. Today's learn- ers embrace technology, which is leveraged to mentor and oversee students and improve education. Asynchronous electron- ic communication between the faculty member and student occurs regularly, strengthening each real-world learning opportunity and exponentially increasing the learning value of each clinical case. What Students Get What are the effects, reported both in medical and veterinary medi- cine, of the distributive model? Team building. Students and clinicians report that they are learning teamwork, work- ing hand in hand with veterinari- ans, nurses, residents and interns in diverse private practice settings. Quality outcomes. Tech - nology enables colleges to collect quality outcome data regardless of geography. Learners don't need to be piled into a cen- tral teaching hospital to get quality 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 4 3 2 1 2 Fourth-year Lincoln Memorial veterinary student Brittany Bible, left, interprets a canine ultrasound with Dr. Jeff Phillips at Animal Emergency and Specialty Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. 5

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