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Changing the Learning Paradigm for Veterinary Students

DogMany professions, like teaching, require some form of hands-on learning before a professional is welcomed to the community. Although experiential education is an extremely valuable technique, it can be difficult to implement in the medical arena, where the need to ensure patient safety and optimal treatment outcomes must be priority. To teach clinical skills, it seems, requires a different learning pedagogy.

To address this need, faculty and staff at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine have pioneered a new multimedia approach to developing and strengthening procedural skills in veterinary medicine. A team of professionals, including Dr. Jodi Korich, director of Partners in Animal Health; Dr. Luis Campoy, lecturer of Anesthesiology; and Dr. Abraham Bezuidenhout, senior lecturer of anatomy, created a DVD course on Peripheral Nerve Blocks in the Dog. Accredited by the RACE American Association of Veterinary State Boards, the course is a six-hour, self-paced training DVD that focuses on peripheral nerve blocks in the dog, an approach that Dr. Luis Campoy helped to pioneer in veterinary medicine.

 “Peripheral nerve blockade is a relatively new procedure that significantly improves the ability to manage patient pain,” said Dr. Campoy. “The procedure has many advantages over more traditional pain management techniques, including reducing the amount of anesthetic required during surgery and superior post-operative pain relief and quicker return to normal function. In the past, it’s been very challenging to try to teach this procedure to students, residents, and veterinarians. With this new course, we’re finding it’s much easier for them to understand the anatomy involved in the blocks, and we anticipate this will translate into a more rapid mastery of the techniques.”

The multimedia DVD course includes a variety of 3D models, videos, and interactive objects, providing an immersive learning experience. According to Dr. Korich, “The team designed the course to increase the efficiency at which students and veterinarians are able to master these clinical skills. This is the first step in a progressive series of new approaches that will ultimately provide more opportunities for students and clinicians to practice clinical procedures on a computer simulator, before attempting them on patients.”

The Cornell community can access the DVD course free of charge through the Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library. The public may purchase the DVD course online for $389.

“For practitioners who find it challenging to attend continuing education conferences due to scheduling conflicts and travel budget constraints, this type of computer-based continuing education represents an excellent alternative,” said Dr. Lorin Warnick, associate dean for veterinary curriculum.  “The course uses the latest in three-dimensional imaging and digital technology to help practitioners relate anatomy to the anesthetic technique that they are learning.”

For more information about Partners in Animal Health, or to access the Peripheral Nerve Blocks in the Dog DVD course, visit