The creation and use of low-fidelity models - key surgical skill competence and confidence in final year veterinary students

The creation and use of low-fidelity models in the development of key surgical skill competence and confidence in final year veterinary students.

School: Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Team Members: Jamie-Leigh Thompson, Jill MacKay, Kelly Bowit Blacklock


Providing real-life surgical learning opportunities throughout veterinary undergraduate training is not always feasible due to an increasing focus on the ethical use of cadavers and their associated cost and now the Covid-19 restrictions. Typically, students gain the bulk of their surgical experience through clinical rotations and EMS (extra mural studies). However, the exact exposure and practical experience each individual student receives is not-regulated nor standardized. Therefore, ensuring that veterinary students have sufficient exposure to surgical techniques and practical experience to be deemed competent upon graduation is a challenge. Surgical models are gaining momentum in the teaching of key surgery skills at multiple stages in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine, in hope of providing a progressive learning journey in developing practical and surgical proficiency.

Currently, surgical models are not integrated into all veterinary curriculums and models are not developed or available to represent all 13 key basic surgical expectations (entrusted professional activities (EPAs)). This study aims to create 3 surgical models and evaluate their influence on finalyear students’ confidence, competence and surgical stress. Models will be developed and during surgical rotations, students will be invited to partake in a unique surgical model session. They will be assessed by an instructor for competence and after completion, data on confidence and stress levels, will be collected using surveys. The results of this study could support for the introduction of low-fidelity surgical training models into the curriculum and open the door for continued development of readily available materials for use in a larger cohort.

Final report

Download the final project report (PDF)

Other Project Outcomes

Thompson JL, Mackay J, Blacklock KB  (2022)  Veterinary students’ views on surgical entrustable professional activities and the impact of COVID-19 on clinical competence development   Vet Record  published 2-Aug-2022