Continuing professional development for veterinarians in a changing world

The veterinary profession has time and again successfully adapted to new challenges and developments, with considerable evolution of the skills needed. Different contexts, production systems and societal requirements continue to shape the profession, resulting in an increasing demand for specialisation, interdisciplinary collaboration along value chains, and preparedness for the omnipresent risk of emerging diseases. To keep up with changes, new insights, advances in research and novel ways to address challenges, continuing professional development (CPD) and the adaptation and updating of the veterinary curriculum have been essential to maintain and enhance the quality and performance of Veterinary Services. This paper reviews actors involved in the provision of Veterinary Services and discusses how vital CPD is in addressing current and future challenges, by focusing on veterinarians and allied veterinary professionals. The authors examine how providers of CPD contribute to the system and how the internal and external factors of a cohort or individual affect the quality and impact of capacity development. The paper further examines the landscape of veterinary CPD in terms of organisational structures, pedagogical approaches, the transition from input- to outcome-based learning, modern delivery tools, and the demands on the different actors involved in the delivery of animal health services. The authors conclude that CPD is essential if the quality of Veterinary Services is to keep pace with the ever-increasing and evolving demands of the 21st century. A CPD programme should therefore be constructed in a way that is tailored to the needs of veterinary professionals and to the requirements of their workplace, whether they work with animal keepers, livestock value chains, national governments or international regulatory bodies. An optimised and successful veterinary sector requires an evidence-based CPD programme that keeps those professionals who are involved in the delivery of animal health services both competent and relevant in a changing world.