CVS develops pioneering EMS placement online booking system

13th June 2023

New EMS support framework also created to help practices and students structure each placement, based on RCVS day one competencies.

CVS has developed a pioneering new Extra Mural Studies (EMS) placement online booking system to help veterinary students immediately find suitable placements[i].

The new tool is the first large-scale EMS online booking system of its type in the veterinary profession. It will mean students can find practice placements at the touch of a button, instead of having to spend time contacting individual surgeries.

CVS’ in-house Learning, Education & Development team has also created a new EMS support framework, based on the RCVS day one competencies. This is intended to help practices and students carefully structure each placement, so that the student can make the most of their EMS experiences.

CVS’ new EMS online booking system is hosted on Knowledge Hub, its unique learning management system. Each CVS practice offering EMS has its own page, where information is provided about the practice, along with a list of available placements. Once registered, students can search for placements by practice name, location and date. CVS currently has 200 practices on the system, located across the UK and Northern Ireland offering placements in all species’ disciplines. When a student finds a suitable placement a booking request is triggered, connecting the student to the host practice so that the booking can be confirmed. All bookings and placement documentation is then stored conveniently in one place for the student. By managing the EMS process through Knowledge Hub, CVS will also offer students access to select courses from its extensive online library, to further help support their growth and development.

CVS’ new EMS support framework is structured around RCVS day one competencies, supplemented with competencies that – as a major employer – it believes newly graduated vets need to successfully start their career. The new framework puts health, wellbeing and professional skills on a par with clinical skills, to encourage students to take a holistic approach to their development – helping them to grow into happy, competent and confident veterinary surgeons.

To further support CVS practices in providing a high-quality EMS experience, a placement supervisor will be appointed at each practice to be the main point of contact for the student during their placement. A series of working documents will also be provided. They will help the student and supervisor to set goals, create timetables and conduct reviews of each placement – helping the student to reflect on what they have achieved and to set new goals for future placements. Furthermore, CVS has also introduced a series of new voluntary awards that students can work towards as they progress through their EMS programme, to recognise their hard work and achievement.

Nigel Stansbie, Head of Online Course Creation at CVS, said: “As a major employer within the industry, we are fully committed to supporting the education and development of vet students, by offering high-quality EMS placements, to help them gain the skills and knowledge they will need to thrive when they join the workforce.

“To ensure we are providing a consistent high-quality EMS experience across our group, we have developed the new CVS EMS Placement Programme consisting of an online booking system to help students find suitable placements, and a new support framework based on RCVS day one competencies to help practices and students structure each placement.”

“Though we know that there is current debate about the future EMS requirements, we as a major employer, recognise the importance of EMS and are confident that the support we have put in place will enable students to make the most of these valuable work experience opportunities.”

The new CVS EMS online booking system is now live. It can be accessed at

CVS Group operates across small animal, farm animal, equine, laboratories and crematoria, with over 500 veterinary practices and referral centres in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. In the last five years the company has invested nearly £80 million in its sites, facilities and equipment, in addition to industry leading training and support, to give the best possible care to animals.

[i] Currently, veterinary students must complete 26 weeks of EMS in clinical practice before graduation.