Eye on EBVM: how EBVM training will change your life

As a senior RVN at Aberdeen Veterinary Referrals, it’s safe to say I’ve kept busy all day. We are a multidisciplinary referral center specializing in orthopedics, neurosurgery, medicine, oncology and soft tissue, serving the north-east of Scotland.

A typical day would be doing routine cruciate / arthroscopy surgeries and spinal investigations, while the medicine team investigates soft tissue referrals and provides chemotherapy to our oncology patients.

We’re a big team, pulled in lots of directions each day, so having structure and consistency in how we work together to do what we do is absolutely crucial to us providing high-quality care.

Continuous improvement

I first came across the theory of evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) methodologies while doing my postgraduate certificate in Advanced Practice in Veterinary Nursing. It had not been something I had learned as part of my undergraduate studies.

At the time, I remember thinking how overwhelmed I was, but also how useful this would be for people in practice if they had only known how to utilize research and audits effectively. As time went on, it became increasingly apparent to me just how much the rigor of EBVM could help to make the most of resources and focus skills towards continuous improvement.


I was first approached by RCVS Knowledge in February 2022 to get involved in testing a new course they created – specifically for practitioners – about EBVM, and how to put the methodologies into practice within busy schedules and workloads. I immediately thought: a resource like this is going to be so useful to so many of us.

I was asked to test the course first-hand, as someone very much within the “core audience” of who it was aimed at, and offer my insights into how helpful, practical and user-friendly it was, bearing in mind the challenges and demands of my daily work.

As I went through all the content, I found the EBVM for Practitioners course an excellent source of CPD for RVNs such as myself, working in various settings.

I found using PICO (patient / population, intervention, comparison and outcomes) questions particularly useful to help me research, critically analyze the evidence and appreciate the benefits of doing clinical audits in practice. I also found that the robustness of the methodologies made me feel confident and secure in the conclusions I’d come to using them. I could see that the course would also help boost staff morale, as it would help minimize the anxieties that can develop when we are all so pushed for time.

The “five As” methodology (ask, acquire, appraise, apply and assess) was also a great framework for researching and implementing change. But for me, the most useful part is “assess”. This is because it is vital to evaluate and re-evaluate, to make sure the changes are effective.


Overall, the course was a great refresher of the theory and concepts I had learned long ago, and it was also a useful reminder of just how effective EBVM can be in practice.

The depth of information is fantastic, and the links to further learning and examples are brilliant and easy to access. The detailed steps on how to use EBVM are presented in a user-friendly way and were adaptable to all types of clinical practice.

There is simply so much that RVNs and practice teams can benefit from in EBVM for Practitioners. The course helps to develop the right skills to find the information you need to identify and implement change in your practice, using the evidence available.

In addition, learning how to conduct clinical audits, critically analyze papers and use the findings to make positive changes are essential tools for all clinical staff, as well as practice staff more broadly.

You can gain up to five hours of valid professional CPD through the course, and they are five really focused, really practical hours. The richness of the learning is amazing.

Fitting in

Of course, it can feel like there are massive barriers to doing a course like this – or any course – when we, as members of the profession have so much to do each day.

EBVM methodologies are becoming more recognizable within our profession and are now actively encouraged as competencies right from day one. This was not the case when I first qualified in 2015. In less than seven years, so much has changed. The beauty of EBVM for Practitioners is the fact it has been designed to fit in with busy workloads and demands; the content is bite-size, written in an accessible way and very much aimed at putting concepts into practice straight away – not to mention it’s free to access. You can dip in and out, and refer back to the material when you need to.

Knowledge and inspiration

I feel like this course was created with someone like me in mind. I would encourage anyone involved in clinical practice to access it on the RCVS Knowledge platform, learn, and find out for themselves how useful and practical this course is.

I’m sure it will be a great source of knowledge and inspiration for practitioners to provide excellent patient care.

  • Visit ebvmforpractitioners.org to access the course for free.

Access EBVM for Practitioners on the RCVS Knowledge “Learn” platform: ebvmforpractitioners.org


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