Making the most of Congress

Making the most of Congress

Congress Diaries Programme

Hi there! BSAVA Congress 2021 is just around the corner...


I wrote before about how it’s a ‘a new concept in virtual veterinary CPD’ and I truly believe that it is. There is a greater depth and breadth to the programme, better integration of the professions within sessions, and more opportunities to participate through the live discussions than there has ever been.

Being a virtual event, whilst not a novel concept in itself, is new for BSAVA Congress. The new format has opened up some fantastic opportunities, but it has also introduced different considerations. To get the most out of Congress, you might find it beneficial to adapt how you approach the event.

We have touched on some of this throughout the Congress Diaries. But with Congress just around the corner, I thought I would share my ‘top tips’ to getting the most out of Congress. I hope they prove useful.



1.    Pick your programme

“I scan for the topics I’m interested in…then it’s about being honest with myself and looking at the areas I know I need a refresher on,” said Hannah Watts, a member of our exhibition sub-group.

She makes a great point and I encourage you to do the same; have a think about what you want from this year’s Congress and then check out the programme well in advance of 25th March.

Angie Mclaughlin, BSAVA Scottish region chair, recently spoke to Vet Times about how she approaches the programme. Her comment about making her final decision on what to watch live struck a chord:

“I’ll likely finally decide which session to follow live based on its interactivity and how many questions I have on each topic at the time,” she said.

The programme is extensive and impossible to absorb over three days. So, please take a note of those live sessions where you want to join in with the conversation and make a plan to watch the others later when and where it suits you.



2. Make yourself comfortable

While I strongly encourage you to make full use of the on-demand facility (the platform will be open for 2 months after the live days) there is no escaping the fact you’re going to be at your desk/on your laptop for a while. All that ‘best practice’ about your computer being at eye-level and sitting in a comfortable position really does really help to combat eye and joint fatigue.

A good selection of snacks and a nice cuppa are also essential elements of ensuring you’re ready to settle down to the best virtual event ever!


3. Take a break

Increasing High rates of mental health issues among the veterinary professions has long been a stark indicator that we need to make more time and place greater emphasis on our wellbeing.

COVID-19 has placed immeasurable pressure on all of us. And while “we’re in the same storm but very different boats,” the fact remains: wellbeing has never been more important.

So, we’ve taken the time to give you access to some resources which we hope will help you maintain self-care during the event.

Alongside advice from our keynotes, we’ve got guided yoga and meditation practices, support from Olympian (and vet) Laura Muir and marathon runner (and vet) Brian Faulkner for our Virtual Run if you fancy starting (or are an established) walker or runner.

This year has been difficult for all of us. Those of you with children have had to juggle home schooling alongside your other responsibilities, and we were determined to give you something which you could do together. We’ll be baking with Bake-Off star Rosie Brandreth-Smith, sharing a bedtime story, and Spencer Wood will be bringing a little magic to the event.

You can find out more about all of these on the wellbeing stand at Congress.



4. Take care of the tech

We’ll shortly be sending delegates a ‘how to’ video to help you navigate and use the platform. But there are a few things to think about before then, if you really want to maximise what you get out of Congress.

Have a think about how and where you’re going to access Congress. If your internet speed is limited and you’ve got lots of users in your household, you may want to think about how you can best share the resource.

We really recommend watching the sessions on the largest screen available to you. There will be graphs, charts and images - and there is nothing more frustrating than getting lost because you can’t see the data.


If you’ve done all of this and have booked your ticket, there’s nothing left to do but to wait for the date. I can’t wait to see you all and sincerely hope you have an immensely productive and enjoyable Congress!

Ian