Using dummies for surgical skills training

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Effective acquisition of a skill requires practise. Therefore it is of great importance to provide veterinary students with opportunities to practice their surgical skills before carrying out surgical procedures on live patients. Some veterinary schools let students perform entire surgical procedures on research animals, in order to learn the basic skills along the way. From an ethical point of view it is questionable however to use live research animals for the sole purpose of practising surgery, and also, research animals are very costly. It is therefore necessary to identify alternative teaching methods for veterinary surgical training. At the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, a number of low fidelity, stuffed toy animal dummies was developed for the Surgical Skills Lab in order to teach 4th year students the basic surgical skills.
In the Surgical Skills Lab fifteen stations guide the students through specific surgical or surgery-related basic skills that students prepare for on-line. The majority of stations consist of dummies made from simple materials such as stuffed toy animals, balloons, beads, corn flour and rubber tubing. Students move from station to station at own pace and succession but all stations must be completed within two days. A part from teachers’ supervision, each station has written step-by-step instructions, and teachers instruct students to instruct each other. After completing a task/station the student must restore the dummy so that it is ready for the next person.
The Surgical Skills Lab seems to be a useful educational tool that provides students with a safe opportunity to practise before live animal surgery. The dummies, whose major parts are reusable and whose disposable parts are cheap and easily accessible makes this a relatively low budget solution with a big ethical benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ID: 130284228