Shaking things up at BSAVA Congress 2022 - Veterinary Practice
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InFocus

Shaking things up at BSAVA Congress 2022

BSAVA Congress is back for 2022 with a brand-new format, aiming to facilitate deeper learning by moving away from the typical lecture-based design and towards a style that encourages delegates to engage more organically

BSAVA Congress 2022 logo

Have you heard? The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) is changing things up for this year’s annual congress. Leaving behind the usual long-form style of lectures, its new learning zones and discipline-based modules will take centre stage, allowing each delegate to forge their own path in line with their learning style and interests. BSAVA Congress 2022 brings together a new programme, a new venue and a new format to provide both virtual and in-person delegates with a new learning experience which extends into all areas of the event.

This year’s congress, running from Thursday 24 to Saturday 26 March, has a hybrid format, with the face-to-face event being held at Manchester Central, a new venue in the heart of the city. The virtual offering includes the module sessions live-streamed and on demand from the in-person event, with a few exhibitors’ sessions streamed exclusively via the online platform. There is also a packed social calendar for all.

Recordings of sessions will be live-streamed onto the virtual platform, and will remain available on demand for 60 days from the event’s opening. This will allow those attending the event in any format to catch up on anything they miss. But what is on offer for delegates this year?

Out with the old and in with the new

Learning zones

“Our profession is a practical one, we’re not used to sitting quietly for long periods of time, passively absorbing information,” says Paul Higgs, programme committee lead for BSAVA Congress 2022 in a recent Congress Diary. In light of this, Congress’s new format aims to facilitate deeper learning by moving away from the typical lecture-based design and towards a structure that provides delegates with the opportunity to work and engage with content more organically.

Sessions have been split into six different “learning zones” based on popular learning styles, banishing the days of sitting in the same lecture hall for hours on end, with little interaction and divided by profession

Sessions have been split into six different “learning zones” based on popular learning styles, banishing the days of sitting in the same lecture hall for hours on end, with little interaction and divided by profession. The zones are:

  • Interactive – these often case-based sessions encourage interaction with speakers, scenarios, cases and each other, through activities such as picture quizzes, diagnostic readings, scenario walkthroughs, and more
  • Experiential – this zone involves “Day in the life of…” dramas specifically tailored to help develop not only clinical skills, but the paraprofessional ones that are, according to Paul, “just as important”. These activities see actors take to the stage to perform recognisable scenes from first opinion practice. Experts then discuss what has happened and debate the next steps using the latest research before the actors return to showcase an end result
  • Debate and discussion – hot topics in small animal veterinary practice will be debated and discussed in depth by panels of expert speakers in this learning zone
  • Lecture – with over 22 clinical and non-clinical modules to choose from, these short-form lectures provide the opportunity to hear inspirational speakers discuss their specialities in a way that puts the spotlight on everyday practice. Two speakers, each with a different perspective, will present for 15 minutes, after which delegates can ask questions in an extended Q&A
  • Practical – for those attending congress in person, there is the opportunity to polish up on and/or learn new practical skills through this hands-on learning zone
  • Exhibition – sessions in this zone can be found at the heart of the congress: the exhibition hall. Here extra CPD is brought to you directly from exhibitors. So, why not join in on the fun with these live lectures, industry symposiums and Q&A sessions, all hosted by recognisable industry-wide exhibitors virtually and live at the exhibition theatre

“In short,” Paul commented, “long-form lectures are gone. Debates, discussions, practicals, interactive sessions, Q&As and live experiences are in.”

Sessions and speakers

With the “profession increasingly recognis[ing] the unique and equally important knowledge bases and skill sets we each possess”, as BSAVA President Sheldon Middleton observes, the BSAVA Congress committee has promised inclusivity by opening up all sessions to the whole veterinary team. By doing so, the committee hopes to integrate professions within the congress community, allowing delegates to hear and understand multiple perspectives and become more efficient as an industry.

The committee hopes to integrate professions within the congress community, allowing delegates to hear and understand multiple perspectives and become more efficient as an industry

There has also been a shake-up of the speakers for this event. Although there may be a few unfamiliar names, all of the 60-plus world-class speakers have been chosen for their ability to “inspire, energise and engage” and have, as Paul states in his Congress Diary, the “knack for igniting new passions, bringing a subject to life and making us want more”.

To help delegates further tailor their congress experience to their interests and specialities, the content has been divided into 22 discipline-based modules (Table 1). Some modules also overlap, looking at the interactions between different specialities, allowing for the consideration of multiple perspectives. Each delegate is therefore able to design their own congress programme, choosing to follow either specific topics throughout, or choosing to only attend sessions which fit their personal learning style. This has been designed, says Paul in his article on the challenge of designing a congress CPD programme, “so delegates can choose their experience by learning style or by subject matter, even if they are attending virtually”.  

Thursday 24 MarchFriday 25 MarchSaturday 26 March
Making decisions in dentistryECC: disorders of coagulationInternal medicine: is it getting hot in here?
Orthopaedics: a team approachDecision making challenges in cardiologyOncology: perspectives on head and neck tumours
Diagnostic imaging: practical applications in first opinionClinical pathologySoft tissue surgery: reconstructive challenges
Ophthalmology: the ocular tourEquality and diversity in the veterinary professionCanine medicine meets behaviour
Feline medicine: infectious diseaseAnaesthesia: pain management and rehabilitationClinical dilemmas in small animal neurology
Management: the price of serviceFeline medicine meets behaviourExotics: no longer the unusual pet
Reception: the gateway to a great practice
A day in the life of: anaesthesia dramasA day in the life of: neurology dramasA day in the life of: reproduction dramas
Table (1) The 22 modules available at BSAVA Congress 2022 by date, with the “day in the life of” events highlighted

Clinical content and more

According to Paul, the aim of this year’s clinical sessions is “to show delegates how the content of the lectures can apply to everyday veterinary work and inspire delegates to develop their knowledge in a pragmatic and practical way”, an aspect that is epitomised by the addition of the “Day in the life of…” dramas to the congress programme. Be sure to check out the congress programme and browse the 100-plus hours of available CPD to discover which sessions lend more towards enhancing your daily practice and forge your own learning experience.

But clinical content is not all that is on offer at this year’s congress; with sessions on management, equality and diversity, and mental health, the programme is chock-full of inspiring content which covers everyday practice inside and out!

The aim of this year’s clinical sessions is “to show delegates how the content of the lectures can apply to everyday veterinary work and inspire delegates to develop their knowledge in a pragmatic and practical way”

So, if you are wondering about how to keep the equality and diversity conversation going in your practice, you can find answers in Friday’s panel debate with Carolyne Crowe, Poppy Bristow, Erin Devitt, Liz Barton, Shamsher Cohan and Michael Henry. Also not to be missed are Thursday’s lectures on mental health by Liz Walker, a leadership and culture consultant, and Carolyne Crowe, head of training at the Veterinary Defence Society, covering topics such as fear, guilt, obligation and imposter syndrome in the veterinary mindset; emotional resilience in dealing with emotional blackmail; and developing as a leader.

Congress opens on Thursday 24 March with the not-to-be-missed President’s welcome and a celebration of those who have gone the extra mile with the winners of the 2021 and 2022 BSAVA awards being presented their prizes at the awards ceremony. Laurent Garosi, winner of the Bourgelat award, will be hosting a video tour of seizure mimics on Thursday.

Beyond the main programme

Wellbeing Zone

The Wellbeing Zone is the brainchild of BSAVA Vice-President Alison Speakman and is sponsored by IDEXX. Described as a hub of practical workshops, physical activities, information and advice from a range of organisations with well-being expertise, this is a new addition that is not to be missed, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

[The Wellbeing Zone] was designed to equip delegates with the ability to recognise changes in their own and others’ mental health, as well as providing information and tools to help reduce and alleviate stress and burnout

“The passion and inspiration for the Wellbeing Zone comes from the struggles I’ve had with my own mental health,” explains Alison in an interview for the Congress Diaries. “I’ve been to some very dark places over the years… If the Wellbeing Zone stops just one person going there, it will have been worthwhile.” This zone was designed to equip delegates with the ability to recognise changes in their own and others’ mental health, as well as providing information and tools to help reduce and alleviate stress and burnout.

Early-morning yoga sessions are available as a drop-in session for congress attendees each day as an integral part of the wellness zone.

Virtual well-being workshops

For those unable to attend in person, there will also be multiple activities available on demand. These include virtual flower-arranging with Blooming Elle and nine 10- to 30-minute yoga, meditation and breathwork sessions brought to you by “Yogacrohnie” Olivia Haskey, a Crohn’s fighter motivated by self-care, positive thinking and healthy living. These can be accessed via the well-being booth on the virtual platform. Also for your virtual calendar is a chance to bake a Manchester tart with Rosie Brandreth-Poynter, semi-finalist in the 2019 series of The Great British Bake Off.

Exhibition

We all know how important a conference exhibition is, and the one at BSAVA Congress is no different. This year’s exhibition has been rejuvenated and will be “taking its rightful place at the centre of the event,” says Sheldon. Meet and network with friends, colleagues and suppliers, and even sign up to the all-new exhibition sessions to learn new skills directly from industry-wide exhibitors! Why not take a dive into the mind of a pathologist with Nationwide Laboratories’ Danilo Gouveia Wasques in his live session on interpreting cytology and histology reports. You could also join Orion Pharma Animal Health in their industry symposiums on solutions for separation-related problems in dogs and building a cat-friendly clinic. Or perhaps RCVS Knowledge’s session on the canine cruciate registry is barking up the right tree for you?

Meet and network with friends, colleagues and suppliers, and even sign up to the all-new exhibition sessions to learn new skills directly from industry-wide exhibitors

Socials

Live

Social events for congress attendees will begin with an exhibition drinks reception, sponsored by Vets4Pets, on Thursday from 6.40pm until closing. On the Friday evening, the Congress’s famed party night, “CLUBVet”, sponsored by VetPlus, will return, revamped and with a new venue, Revolution Deansgate, among Manchester’s distinctive converted railway arches. Be sure to purchase your tickets to avoid missing out!

Virtual

The virtual social calendar begins with a live drag aerobics Zoom class with Dolly Trolley, while Friday evening offers a virtual caricature class with MKcaricatures for online attendees. On Saturday night, delegates can get their trivia hats on for a virtual quiz night with quizmaster Julian Hoad and then party on afterwards at a virtual disco with the Silent Disco Company. Don’t forget to book your place for events when you register!

Health and safety

BSAVA Congress 2022 will follow the latest health and safety guidelines, so keep an eye on the BSAVA Congress website for any further updates on regulations. Features such as reduced contact, hand sanitisers, regular cleaning and sanitisation, being mask friendly and clear COVID signage will be present.

Round up

Congress is all about community, says Sheldon in his article on natural networking at congress, and his advice for those attending this year’s congress is simply to get involved: “join in with the debate, and say ‘yes’ to taking part”. After all, who knows what you will learn and who you will meet? Perhaps, as Paul Higgs hopes, you’ll “be brave enough to join in”, and, by doing so, you can make the most of the new interactive structure, helping the sessions to be as “stimulating and productive as they can be”.

Registration for BSAVA Congress 2022 is open, with prices for both BSAVA members and non-members available on the BSAVA website.
Veterinary Practice is proud to be a media partner of BSAVA Congress 2022, a hybrid event taking place from Thursday 24 March to Saturday 26 March online and at Manchester Central. To find out more visit the BSAVA Congress website and be sure to visit our virtual stand!

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