gms | German Medical Science

4th InVeST – International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching Conference

14.09. - 16.09.2015, Hannover

Preparing veterinary students for clinical placements by embedding simulation and clinical scenarios into small group clinical skills teaching

Meeting Abstract

  • Robert Ward - Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Caroline Mosley - Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Carolyn Morton - Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Stacy Spielman - Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Catriona Bell - Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

InVeST 2015: International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching Conference. Hannover, 14.-16.09.2015. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2015. Doc15invest33

doi: 10.3205/15invest33, urn:nbn:de:0183-15invest331

Published: September 10, 2015

© 2015 Ward et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



A series of small group clinical skills practical classes were specifically designed and delivered in the 2014–15 academic year to help to prepare 3rd year veterinary students for their forthcoming clinical or ‘Extra-mural studies (EMS)’ placements in private veterinary practices. The content of these classes was informed both by results from a wider curriculum mapping exercise at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (R(D)SVS) plus feedback from students, faculty members and EMS providers.

Classes were badged under the umbrella term of ‘Preparing for EMS’, and key clinical skills were grouped together to produce the series of themed classes shown below:

Small Animal Skills
Large Animal Skills
Emergency and Critical Care Skills
Diagnostic Skills 1
Diagnostic Skills 2

Learning objectives were then formulated for each class, and these then informed the design of a series of ‘scenario-based stations’ that the students rotated around during each class. Most stations were based around typical clinical scenarios that a student may encounter during their EMS placements, and required them to learn a specific clinical skill e.g. urinary catheterisation of a male dog; or dose calculation, equipment selection and administration of an intravenous injection to a horse.

In order to provide additional relevant clinical context for each skill, the majority of scenarios involved a short clinical vignette which included the name of the patient plus a detailed signalment and brief clinical presentation. In addition, the Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) class was based around just one emergency patient, ‘Bruce’ a Labrador who had initially presented for surgery to remove an intestinal foreign body and then proceeded to ‘crash’ under anaesthesia, thus requiring a number of related ECC procedures to be carried out by the students.

Business skills were also embedded into the student learning experience in some classes, with the focus being for students to develop an appreciation of the cost of consumable items and common clinical procedures. Students were thus required to keep a log of the equipment and procedures that they had used on the various stations (e.g. intravenous cannula, pair of sterile gloves etc), and to then add up their total cost at the end of the practical class using a ‘price list’ generated using current 'real' prices from the Hospital for Small Animals at the R(D)SVS.

Low fidelity (e.g. UC Davis vascular access mannikins) and homemade simulators (e.g. modified Melissa and Doug® stuffed toys) were used in each scenario, thus making the classes affordable and deliverable to a year of 180 students. Each class lasted between 60–80 minutes and was delivered by two academic plus one technical staff member to 1/8 class sizes (approximately 20 students) in order to optimise the learning opportunities for each student.

Classes were extremely well received by students, and the ‘rotating station’ format with accompanying handout proved to be an efficient model for delivering clinical skills teaching. Future plans will focus on developing pragmatic methods for formative assessment of these clinical skills, followed by summative assessment using objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs).