Once doctors have graduated veterinary school they have a choice to either start practicing medicine as a general practitioner or pursue further training through an internship. An internship is a one year position that doctors apply to after veterinary school. This is usually a program where veterinarians (interns) are exposed to multiple different specialists/ specialties. This allows further training prior to practicing medicine on your own or further pursuing additional training to become specialized. ACCESS does not have an internship program. This is very different from most referral hospitals.
Interns may decide to either go to general practice or pursue further specialized training in a specialty. Interns who want to become specialized will then apply for Residencies. Residencies range from two years to five years in length, depending on the program and specialty. Residencies require complete devotion and are life consuming for these candidates. ACCESS has a three year residency program in Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care.
Doctors who have completed their residencies but have not completed all of the required steps to become board certified, are required to have; “practice limited to…” in their titles. You may see these doctors also referred to as ‘residency trained’ or ‘board eligible’.
A specialist is a veterinarian who has completed veterinary school, an internship and a residency in their specialized area. Additionally they must also fulfill further other requirements specific to their area of specialty. All specialties require a written examination and most specialties require publications. The publication needs to be accepted into peer reviewed journals, which is a very time consuming and difficult endeavor. Once all these steps are accomplished a doctor receives notification through their respected specialty college that they are Board Certified in their special area. Terms that denote a specialist include Board Certified, Specialist, Diplomate and respected specialty names such as “Internist”, “Criticalist”, “Surgeon”, “Cardiologist”, “Neurologist”, “Oncologist”, “Dermatologist”, “Dentist”, “Ophthalmologist”, “Radiologist” etc.
Different schools denote a veterinarian’s degree in different ways, such as the following:
BVSc – Bachelor of Veterinary Science
BVMS – Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery
DVM – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
VMD – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
You may see Board Certified doctors having additional credentials specified in their title, such as:
DACVECC – Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care
DACVIM – Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
DACVS – Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons