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Inherent requirements for veterinary science programs

Our veterinary science programs have inherent requirements you must meet to be able to graduate.

Inherent requirements are core activities, tasks or skills that are essential to a program or course. They apply to the following program:

  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours).

What you need to do

If you plan to apply for one of these programs, carefully read through the inherent requirements.

If you think you may experience any problems meeting them, contact a Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser to discuss your needs and whether any reasonable adjustments can be made.

Learn more about inherent requirements at UQ

Inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other information such as the program rules as well as:

Ethical behaviour and safe practice

Context Veterinary students are governed by quality and professional standards and are responsible for ensuring professional and ethical behaviour in all contexts.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate knowledge of — and engage in — ethical behaviour consistent with relevant standards and safe practice.
Why this is required
  • Complying with standards, codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships and provides a safe environment for students, people and the animals they engage with.
  • Understanding and applying key ethical and conduct principles is necessary for students in clinical and placement settings.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must ensure that standards, codes, guidelines and policies are maintained and do not result in unethical behaviour. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can demonstrate:

  • integrity, courtesy and honesty in dealing with staff, peers and clients
  • the ability to manage confidential information appropriately in classroom and clinical settings
  • the ability to reflect on ethical issues and take responsibility for demonstrating ethical awareness and conduct in the delivery of care, such as by considering the owners' preferences and financial constraints alongside animal welfare when developing treatment plans.

Behavioural stability

Self-awareness, behavioural stability and adaptability

Context Behavioural stability, adaptability and self-awareness are necessary to effectively and sensitively function and adapt in veterinary roles.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate behavioural stability and adaptability in diverse, unpredictable and challenging academic and clinical environments.
Why this is required
  • Behavioural stability is necessary to work in diverse, challenging and unpredictable environments, whether individually or on a team. Veterinary students will be exposed to complex and stressful situations, including human and animal distress, and are required to have the behavioural stability to manage themselves, their activities and their emotional responses in these environments.
  • Personal wellbeing must also be given a high priority. Students will be required to adapt their behaviour appropriately during times of additional stress in their own lives — whether this adaptation involves ways of continuing to engage with their role or withdrawing for self-care for a period.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • effectively manage your emotions and behaviour in classroom and clinical settings
  • work effectively in changing environments — make and justify decisions based on available information and keep up with changes that occur in the organisation and delivery of animal health care
  • take responsibility for your physical and mental health, seeking treatment, limiting practice where necessary, and seeking assistance from the University or relevant authorities.

Interpersonal skills

Context Interpersonal skills are necessary to build positive relationships and work sensitively and effectively in academic, community and clinical settings.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate:

  • effective expression of ideas to clients, professional colleagues and authorities
  • effective listening skills and empathy to clients and others, using appropriate and respectful language for the audience and the context
  • respectful communication with people of different genders, sexuality, age, or of different cultural, religious, socio-economic or educational backgrounds
  • ability to work effectively with teams or independently in a variety of circumstances
  • respect for personal and professional boundaries
  • understanding of safe and appropriate attire for all clinical and professional environments.
Why this is required In professional practice, it is necessary to work or engage effectively, sensitively and confidentially with clients and colleagues from diverse backgrounds and abilities in various contexts and to ensure that they are not adversely affected.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must enable appropriate levels of interpersonal engagement and behaviour. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • treat and provide preventative care for animals owned by people of all ages and from a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, such as by understanding the wide range of cultural perspectives on animal ownership and use
  • ensure your motives, attitudes and behaviours do not adversely affect patients/clients, such as by delivering patient-focused treatment for all patients, with effective communication of all treatment options to owners of animals under your care.

Legal

Context Veterinary practice is regulated by Australian laws and professional standards to enable the safe delivery of care.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate knowledge of and compliance with all laws, professional standards and scope of practice.
Why this is required Showing an understanding of and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements reduces the risk of harm to self and others. Compliance with all laws and regulations ensures that students are responsible and accountable for their practice.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must be consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can comply with:

  • laws and regulations such as the AVA Code of Practice and the Vet Surgeons Board
  • the requirements for registration with the Australian or New Zealand Veterinary Boards
  • international laws and regulations while on international placements.

Communication

Verbal

Context Effective verbal communication in English is an essential requirement to provide safe care.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate the:

  • ability to communicate well at formal and informal levels with peers, lecturers and tutors in small and large groups
  • ability to give and receive clear instructions to small and large groups in classroom or clinical situations
  • ability to present ideas to individuals and groups in classroom situations
  • capacity to use language effectively with diverse linguistic and cultural groups and individuals in a range of different social situations, including professional and field settings.
Why this is required
  • Verbal communication is the primary medium of communication in a professional setting.
  • Timely, accurate and effective delivery of information is vital for providing clear instructions to clients and colleagues.
  • Communicating with others verbally in a respectful and empathetic way develops and maintains effective relationships.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must address issues concerning the effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy of verbal communication to achieve safe and appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • communicate clearly, audibly and understandably in English
  • actively participate in group discussions.

Non-verbal

Context Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to veterinary practice and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and non-judgmental.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate:

  • the capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues and gestures
  • consistent and appropriate awareness of your own behaviour
  • sensitivity to individual and cultural differences.
Why this is required
  • The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues helps to build rapport and develop trusting and respectful relationships in academic and professional contexts.
  • Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions and eye contact – and being aware of spatial boundaries, body movements and gestures – helps to build rapport and develop trustful and respectful relationships in academic and professional contexts.
  • The ability to observe, understand and respond appropriately to non-verbal cues is essential to safely and effectively assess and treat patients and their symptoms – particularly as patients are unable to verbalise distress, discomfort or fear.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must enable a student to effectively recognise, initiate or respond to non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • recognise and respond appropriately to patient cues in the clinical environment.

Written

Context Effective written communication in English is essential to complete program requirements and participate in professional and field experience.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate the capacity to produce coherent written material appropriate to the circumstances.
Why this is required
  • Written assessment tasks reflect the required academic standards necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional and field practice.
  • Accurate written communication, including record-keeping, case evaluations and reports, is necessary to provide professional service and safe patient care.
  • To demonstrate effective and appropriate use of a range of texts, including written, screen-based, image-based, and sign/symbol-based.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to facilitate effective planning, delivery, reporting, evaluating and synthesising of information in both professional and field experience settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • construct a case report or patient chart that is accurate, coherent and comprehensible.

Cognition

Knowledge acquisition and cognitive ability

Context Veterinarians collect, organise and critically appraise information to make appropriate clinical judgments. Cognitive skills for knowledge acquisition, utilisation and retention are vital for safe and effective care.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate the:

  • capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information
  • ability to process information relevant to practice
  • ability to integrate, reflect on, and implement knowledge in classroom and clinical settings.
Why this is required Safe and effective delivery of veterinary care relies on comprehensive knowledge that is sourced, understood and applied appropriately.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must ensure knowledge can be clearly demonstrated and cognitive skills are not compromised or impeded. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • accurately recall patient observations to provide a summary of clinical details for discussion with the supervising Clinical Educator
  • use available evidence to develop and assess treatment options and compare their respective merits
  • safely complete clinical tasks in a reasonable time frame
  • interpret, understand and use knowledge to develop a deeper understanding of a situation and use in a clinical/professional context.

Literacy (language)

Context Competent English literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective care.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate the:

  • ability to accurately acquire information and convey appropriate and effective messages in English
  • ability to read and comprehend a range of information in English
  • capacity to understand and apply academic conventions to write coherent English in a scholarly and professional manner.
Why this is required
  • The ability to acquire information and to write and speak clearly and accurately in English is fundamental for safe and effective clinical practice.
  • The ability to read, interpret and understand multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective clinical practice.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must ensure a student can demonstrate an appropriate capacity to acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurately in English. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • listen well to information provided in English
  • speak clearly and accurately in English
  • read and understand information presented in digital formats or handwritten clinical notes, test results, charts or journal articles.

Numeracy

Context Competent numeracy skills are essential to deliver safe and effective care.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate the ability to correctly and accurately interpret and apply data, measurements and numerical criteria in a range of contexts.
Why this is required Competent numeracy skills are fundamental to facilitating the safe and effective delivery of veterinary care.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must ensure a student can demonstrate a capacity to interpret and apply numerical concepts and processes in a timely, accurate and effective manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • determine accurate medication dosages, anaesthetics, fluid therapy and food rations
  • successfully conduct a statistical analysis of clinical or production records.

Sensory ability

Visual

Context Adequate visual acuity is required to provide safe and effective veterinary care.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate sufficient visual acuity to:

  • perform the required range of skills, and be able to monitor the patient's environment, appearance, behaviour, posture and movement
  • monitor patient and client behaviour and safety and be observant and sensitive to clients and other members of the public as you carry out your duties.
Why this is required
  • Sufficient visual acuity is necessary to demonstrate the required range of skills, tasks and assessments in this program, and to provide consistent, accurate and safe care.
  • Visual observations, examinations and assessment are fundamental to safe and effective veterinary practice
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must address the need to perform the required range of tasks involved in field placements. Any strategies to address the effects of a vision impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise patient care or safety. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • accurately observe patient appearance, recognise behavioural signals of stress, and assess posture and movement
  • monitor the broader practice environment and observe multiple patients, co-workers and events simultaneously
  • judge and interpret radiographs and digital medical images by having sufficient visual acuity to allow for distinction of optical contrast, low contrast and small image details
  • identify and interpret the results of diagnostic tests through direct observation and microscopic examination.

Auditory

Context Sufficient competent aural communication is required to effectively access program content and to respond to the demands of professional and field experience.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate:

  • sufficient auditory ability to perform and comprehend the required range of tasks
  • active listening in tutorials, lectures with tutors, lecturers and peers, during professional field experience with instructors, and with clients
  • sufficient auditory ability to gather information and provide accurate feedback, and monitor cases consistently and accurately while on professional and field experience
  • sufficient understanding of spoken English delivered at conversational speed, including in noisy environments, such as veterinary clinics and classrooms
  • appropriate use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) devices that support auditory communication with individuals and small groups in classroom, professional and clinical environments.
Why this is required Sufficient auditory ability is necessary to effectively work in classroom and clinical settings and to ensure safe and effective veterinary practice.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in veterinary practice. Any strategies to address the effects of the hearing loss must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment or safety. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • demonstrate active listening to and comprehension of audio information presented in a range of formats and responding effectively to instructors and clients
  • differentiate sound across a wide spectrum of tone, pitch and volume, including distinguishing speech, background noise, alarms and monitors
  • perform a cardiac auscultation to detect and perceive changes in pain, heart, breathing or abdominal sounds.

Tactile

Context Sufficient ability to respond to tactile input and provide tactile interaction is required to perform competent and safe veterinary care.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate sufficient tactile function to undertake the required range of skills and assessments.
Why this is required Elements in the working environment are detected and measured by tactile means, and the ability to learn from or respond to these inputs is required to provide safe and effective practice.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must ensure a student can demonstrate functional effectiveness, facilitate the safety of self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • detect any changes in a patient’s circulation, for example the temperature of extremities and pulse palpation
  • conduct a physical assessment and distinguishing changes in hard and soft tissue, performing a cattle pregnancy diagnosis and assessing foetal position of calves, or detecting tumours or bone deformities.

Strength and mobility

Gross motor skills

Context Being a veterinarian can be physically demanding and requires gross motor function.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate the ability to perform gross motor skills to function within scope of practice.
Why this is required
  • Gross motor skills are necessary to perform, coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks that involve gross motor skills include lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, standing, twisting and bending. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to themselves and others, including animals.
  • Students must be able to operate equipment for the restraint of animals and for medical procedures.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments should facilitate functional effectiveness, safety of self and others, and a capacity to provide appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • safely lift animals or objects weighing up to 20 kilograms and identify procedures for safely lifting heavier animals or instruments
  • physically restrain and examine large and small animals
  • maintain a standing position while using both upper limbs to perform a task or work, including sitting, standing and walking for prolonged periods
  • perform obstetric procedures such as delivering calves or performing foetotomies
  • effectively manoeuvre around equipment and other veterinary staff to safely administer general anaesthetic to a horse in a box stall
  • work effectively for the required hours in a range of settings such as farms, clinics and abattoirs and a range of indoor or outdoor locations, in a variety of weather conditions and areas with uneven ground.

Fine motor skills

Context Veterinary practice requires manual dexterity and fine motor skills.
What you need to demonstrate You, the student, will demonstrate the ability to use fine motor skills to provide safe and effective care.
Why this is required Fine motor skills are necessary to perform, coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks that involve fine motor skills include being able to grasp, press, push, turn, squeeze and manipulate various objects. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to themselves and others, including patients and clients.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must facilitate functional effectiveness, safety to self, patients and clients, and a capacity to provide appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • perform an ultrasound of the abdomen
  • demonstrate the ability to perform a range of skills during patient care and in a laboratory setting including cutting, extending, pinching, pulling and twisting
  • place an intravenous catheter
  • perform surgical techniques.

Sustainable performance

Context Veterinary study and practice requires both physical and mental endurance at a consistent and sustained level.
What you need to demonstrate

You, the student, will demonstrate:

  • consistent and sustained physical energy to complete specific tasks in a timely manner and over time
  • the ability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately
  • the capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time.
Why this is required Sufficient physical and mental endurance are essential to performing multiple tasks in an assigned period and to provide safe and effective care.
Scope for reasonable adjustments Reasonable adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with a UQ Diversity, Disability and Inclusion Adviser.
Example ways to meet the requirement

You can:

  • perform multiple tasks simultaneously while supervising the safety and care of patients and clients
  • perform multiple extended tasks such as pregnancy diagnosis of large stock
  • confidently approach animals and remain in close proximity to animals for extended periods
  • sustain cognitive engagement, manual performance level and emotional control for the full duration of a health care process
  • perform obstetric procedures on large animals, including repositioning and bisecting unborn foetuses to assist full-term delivery.

Need more information?

If you're not sure what an inherent requirement means, contact the School of Veterinary Science.


Adapted from Inherent Requirements © University of Western Sydney, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International licence.