Paul Higgs opens up his decision-making process to the scrutiny of a live audience for the first time
BSAVA Congress Committee Chairperson and CVS Group Chief Veterinary Officer Paul Higgs, will be conducting two unique live case work-ups in the educational ‘Day in the Life of’ section of the BSAVA Congress (23-25 March 2023), alongside fellow internal medicine specialist Vicki Black.
Believed to be a veterinary conference first, Paul will have no prior knowledge of the complex cases he will be faced with. Armed only with the clinical history, taken from a pre-recorded consultation with an actor, he will be tasked with working up these cases to try to find a diagnosis; the twist is that the owner (actor) will be live on stage and Paul will have to ensure he communicates with them throughout.
The sessions are designed to replicate the real world challenges of veterinary medicine, rather than offer delegates a well-rehearsed lecture. It is hoped they will demonstrate how a structured and logical approach to a consultation can help vets work through the most difficult cases in practice.
From start to finish, Paul will be asked to verbalise his analysis of each case and his decision-making process. In addition to communicating with each pet owner, he will need to give the reasons why he asks for tests and what he is thinking about the case. His job will be to work his way to a diagnosis via a logical work-up process; looking at extensive sets of results in a short period of time, then explaining where to go next.
The sessions will include audience interaction, with delegates encouraged to feedback their judgements on the case. Here, Paul will be asked to stand in a soundproof booth when presented with test results, whilst Vicki – who knows the full case – will share them with the audience and invite them to suggest the best way forward. Paul will then exit the booth to see if what he’s proposing mirrors the audience’s views.
Paul Higgs, Chief Veterinary Officer at CVS Group and BSAVA Congress Committee Chairperson, said: “Lectures on cases where everything’s under control are all very well, but real life is different – and that’s what we want to show here.
“This scenario‑based learning can be really effective. I don’t think live work-ups have ever been done at a conference nor in any educational format before. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
“There’s an element of risk – as I’m opening up my decision making process to live scrutiny – but I’m getting up there to do this. As vets, we don’t always get things right, but as long as we follow a logical process we’ll get the best results we can.”
Paul and Vicki will run a ‘Day in the Life of’ A Gastrointestinal Challenge: Live Case Work-up at 8:45am-12:20pm on Thursday 23 March, and A Pyrexic Challenge: Live Case Work-up at 8:30am-12:10pm on Saturday 25 March at BSAVA Congress 2023 in Manchester.
The ‘Day in the Life of’ sessions aim to look at the wide variety of factors impacting the outcome of cases and the decision‑making process during consultation. They use a blend of live performance, clinical CPD, paraprofessional skills, and audience discussions to explore how to tackle small animal cases. They are part of the educational programme for the conference, which includes over 20 modules designed by the BSAVA Congress Committee. Paul Higgs has chaired the BSAVA Congress Committee for three years and has been part of the Committee for nine years.
CVS Group operates across small animal, farm animal, equine, laboratories and crematoria, with over 500 veterinary practices, referral centres and sites 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.