The hidden curriculum is characterized by information that is tacitly conveyed to and among students about the cultural and moral environment in which they find themselves. Although the hidden curriculum is often defined as a distinct entity, tacit information is conveyed to students throughout all aspects of formal and informal curricula. This unconsciously communicated knowledge has been identified across a wide spectrum of educational environments and is known to have lasting and powerful impacts, both positive and negative. Recently, medical education research on the hidden curriculum of becoming a doctor has come to the forefront as institutions struggle with inconsistencies between formal and hidden curricula that hinder the practice of patient-centered medicine. Similarly, the complex ethical questions that arise during the practice and teaching of veterinary medicine have the potential to cause disagreement between what the institution sets out to teach and what is actually learned. However, the hidden curriculum remains largely unexplored for this field. Because the hidden curriculum is retained effectively by students, elucidating its underlying messages can be a key component of program refinement A review of recent literature about the hidden curriculum in a variety of fields, including medical education, will be used to explore potential hidden curricula in veterinary medicine and draw attention to the need for further investigation.
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