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Developing versatile veterinary professionals at Auburn

Melinda S. CamusCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL

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A. N. BairdCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL

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Calvin M. JohnsonCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL

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The primary educational mission of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine is to develop professionals who possess the skills necessary to thrive in the workforce and exemplify tenets of the Auburn Creed: hard work, honesty and truthfulness, the human touch, a sound mind, and a spirit that is not afraid. This is accomplished by focusing on not only a strong knowledge base and technical competency, but also accountability, integrity, intellectual curiosity, and compassion. Auburn develops outstanding veterinarians who are broadly prepared to succeed in veterinary medicine.

With a heavy, diverse caseload in a comprehensive on-campus veterinary teaching hospital, students learn how to work efficiently as team members. In partnership with veterinary practitioners, local shelters, and a national center of excellence in canine detection, the college offers abundant opportunities to develop competencies in a breadth of disciplines. Auburn clinical students participate in core rotations in small animal, equine, and farm animal medicine, experiencing one of the busiest food animal hospitals nationwide. Exceptional faculty provide formative feedback through unique and effective clinical assessments, stimulating professional growth. Enduring partnerships with practitioners throughout Alabama, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the nation at large afford students the chance to hone their skills during an 8-week preceptorship capstone experience.

Peer and faculty mentors and engaged alumni help Auburn students cultivate interpersonal relationships through interactive experiences. Through an embedded internship program, a hospital social worker and social work interns train students, faculty, and staff to navigate the challenges of difficult communications and learn to engage productively with others. Maintaining a student code of professional ethics that has withstood the test of time, Auburn students hold each other to the highest professional standards, which transcend college walls.

Through a robust, evolving curriculum with an emphasis on clinical reasoning, students are stimulated intellectually and afforded the opportunity to engage in hypothesis-driven research. Auburn students are challenged to expand their horizons by embracing the diversity of society through strategic initiatives. International faculty mentor students in core coursework, electives, and clubs. Enduring agreements with institutions globally and a sustained partnership with nearby Tuskegee University allow for establishment and cultivation of diverse professional networks. Students learn the business of veterinary medicine through courses in the core curriculum and through electives and clinical rotations designed to provide them with the tools needed to balance budgets, negotiate contracts, and run successful veterinary practices.

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Dr. Fred Caldwell prepares Auburn students for readiness in equine practice.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260, 15; 10.2460/javma.22.10.0458

Building resilience is a priority in cultivating a lifetime of wellness. With wellness hours and onsite mental health professionals, Auburn values and promotes student well-being. Through courses in professional self-care, students are given the tools to confront life's challenges and thrive in the demanding clinical work environment. In a newly developed communications laboratory, incoming students will have the opportunity to experience interactive feedback sessions through clinical client simulations, providing tangible skills that can be translated directly to the workplace. By promoting a culture of strong work ethic, integrity, academic excellence, and compassion, Auburn builds veterinarians who win the respect and confidence of the clients they serve.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Camus (msc0068@auburn.edu)