The use of contextualised standardised client simulation to develop clinical reasoning in final year veterinary students

Vinten, C E K and Cobb, K A and Mossop, L H (2019) The use of contextualised standardised client simulation to develop clinical reasoning in final year veterinary students. JOURNAL OF VETERINARY MEDICAL EDUCATION, 47 (1). pp. 56-68.

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Abstract

Clinical reasoning is an important skill for veterinary students to develop before graduation. Simulation has been studied in medical education as a method for developing clinical reasoning in students, but evidence supporting it is limited. This study involved the creation of a contextualized, standardized client simulation session that aimed to improve the clinical reasoning ability and confidence of final-year veterinary students. Sixty-eight participants completed three simulated primary-care consultations, with the client played by an actor and the pet by a healthy animal. Survey data showed that all participants felt that the session improved their clinical decision-making ability. Quantitative clinical reasoning self-assessment, performed using a validated rubric, triangulated this finding, showing an improvement in students’ perception of several components of their clinical reasoning skill level from before the simulation to after it. Blinded researcher analysis of the consultation video recordings found that students showed a significant increase in ability on the history-taking and making-sense-of-data (including formation of a differential diagnosis) components of the assessment rubric. Thirty students took part in focus groups investigating their experience with the simulation. Two themes arose from thematic analysis of these data: variety of reasoning methods and “It’s a different way of thinking.” The latter highlights differences between the decision making students practice during their time in education and the decision making they will use once they are in practice. Our findings suggest that simulation can be used to develop clinical reasoning in veterinary students, and they demonstrate the need for further research in this area.

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