Veterinarians wishing to become ACVECC Diplomates must complete a three year residency program to be eligible to write the board exam. Much of the time is spent doing clinical, hands-on work in a veterinary intensive care unit, under the supervision and guidance of a board-certified veterinary critical care specialist. Immersed in the ICU setting, residents are exposed to a wide variety of complex emergency and critical cases, which provide a foundation for building understanding of pathophysiology and mastering advanced technical skills. When not providing patient care, residents are expected to become familiar with the past and current veterinary and human ICU literature, exploring an exhaustive reading list of journals and texts to deepen their understanding of the discipline. Journal clubs, case rounds, formal and informal teaching of veterinary students and interns, as well as attending or participating in veterinary and human critical care conferences are essential to the residency experience, providing opportunity to develop skills of teaching, critical thinking and effective communication. Residents spend a portion of their time in allied specialties such as internal medicine, cardiology, anesthesia and surgery to complement their critical care training. Critical care residents are also required to contribute to the veterinary literature through publication of case reports or a peer-reviewed journal article, most often on the subject of a research project the resident has executed. Through the research and publication process, residents become familiar with reviewing and critically assessing veterinary literature, develop a working knowledge of medical statistics, and improve writing skills.
The goal of a residency program is to train a veterinarian to be well-versed in the current veterinary and human ICU literature, develop critical thinking skills and research skills, become competent in the clinical practice of emergency and critical care, while being a professional role model upheld to high standards of ethical practice.