Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify LIVE! re-invents CPD

It’s CPD… but not as we know it. 

The inaugural Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify: LIVE event in London last weekend showcased a side of the veterinary profession I’m not used to seeing.  And I liked it!  I should state a conflict of interest as a member of the working group and organizer of the parent and child area, but what I can take no credit for was the atmosphere and ‘vibe’ of the event; ego was replaced with humility, and I’ve never been to CPD where it’s okay to cry, laugh and swear (even on the main stage).

While the speakers were not all clinical specialists, they had acquired skills above and beyond the profession and were boosting the confidence of the audience to embrace how capable we are as vets, and how widely applicable our skills can be. Whether it’s Taimur Alavi creating the innovative 3D anatomy imaging platform Ivala, Nuala Summerfield crossing the gap between first opinion practice and specialist centres through Virtual Veterinary Specialists, or Cal Major and her Paddle Against Plastic campaign and epic paddle board challenges, the speakers were as honest as they were inspiring.  It’s not an easy ride, but following interests and passions with grit and determination leads to results.  Niall Connell gave us a hilarious education in how not to take yourself too seriously, and Chris Tufnell gets quote of the weekend when discussing diet in relation to wellbeing; “Crap in, crap out!”

During break times there was no sense of hierarchy, which often exists at purely clinical CPD.    Everyone chatted to everyone!  Maybe it was being thrown out of the usual vet setting and into a funky basement space, or maybe it was down to the honesty and openness of keynote speakers, but it was okay and natural for delegates to chat about their personal struggles, dreams and goals.  It was all about encouragement, support and advice.

Everything was well thought out; from the healthy food (CT would approve!), to the coffee on tap, to the eco-friendly delegate badges.  The diddi delegate area was well received with live feeds available projected onto the main screen and provisions for the little ones.  Parents felt it was okay to sit and breastfeed in sessions and were frequently offered a helping hand at meal times.  It just felt normal, and with the rising demand for working life that is more flexible for families this should surely become the norm.

The question is why isn’t all CPD more like this, and the challenge in my opinion is it to ensure it is in the future.

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