Continuing education (CE) credits can help refine the skills a practitioner already knows and address new challenges, plus help practitioners grow their practice and business.

Current and past winners of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) AgriLabs Dr. Bruce Wren Continuing Education Award helped meet the needs of their clients by strategically earning relevant CE credits.

Applicants for the $5,000 grant can be up to ten years removed from graduating with a doctorate of veterinary medicine. The timeline encourages newer veterinarians to earn skills that fill a niche within a community or practice.

“One of our goals at AgriLabs is to arm practitioners with the tools they need to stay ahead of the curve,” says Steve Schram, AgriLabs president and CEO. “The Dr. Bruce Wren Continuing Education Award allows us to do so by providing individuals the ability to complete those CE courses they are looking for to enhance their practice.”

Even without the incentive of a grant application, carefully considering CE selections can help veterinarians, producers and practices thrive. In addition, online courses can lessen the sting of being away from the clinic.

Listening to Clients

Becky Funk, DVM, MS, at Rushville Veterinary Clinic in Rushville, NE, focuses her continuing education credits on topics at the top of her producers’ minds.

“I pick up CE and try to get ahead of what I’m seeing my producers talk about,” Dr. Funk says. “I’ll pick up things and bring them back to producers. There are holes that need to be filled.”

Her clients’ focus on profitability drove Dr. Funk to participate in the weeklong Ranching for Profit course. She participated with help from a Dr. Wren Continuing Education Award.

“I pride myself on helping producers look at both the medical and economic side,” Dr. Funk says. “If they aren’t profitable, I’m out of a job. It will give me a broader base to help work them through decisions, whether it be culling decisions looking at productivity or things like that. I’d like the opportunity to sit down and do some consulting with the cow-calf guys.”

Last year, Dr. Funk worked at a practice evenly split between breeding herds and feedlot clients. This year, she moved to an area predominantly working with cow-calf operators, which will make good use of her CE investment.

Even though she’s required to earn about 40 CE credits every other year to renew her veterinary license, Dr. Funk takes about 30 hours every year during the annual AABP conference and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) meeting. Company-sponsored CE available in her area rounds out her selections.

As she chooses courses throughout the year, credits concentrating on business education always catch her eye.

“The education we get in business is nearly nonexistent,” Dr. Funk says. “I’m filling holes in my education, my practice and keeping up with clients in the business side through CE.”