Monday, 5 November 2012

Teaching at Nanjing Agricultural University

The JMICAWE was delighted to spend a week at Nanjing Agricultural University in China last week teaching clinical skills and animal welfare training to 4th year veterinary students.
Vet Heather Bacon and vet nurse Hayley Walters flew out to Nanjing with suitcases full of models and mannequins to demonstrate alternatives to live animals when teaching clinical skills. Currently in China, live animals are used for the students to practise their suturing, blood sampling and catheter placement techniques. The workshop demonstrated to the students the necessity or honing clinical skills and perfecting techniques, that can be painful, on models and mannequins before having to do it in a real life situation on a live animal.
“We took dog head models that allow students to practise blood sampling the jugular vein, suture boards that are like a fake skin that the students can practise different suture patters on, fake dog legs for perfecting IV catheter placement, heads for intubation practise and ligature boards so that the students could understand the necessity of tying ligatures at depth”, said Hayley.
Videos filmed in The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies of real life procedures were also used during the workshop and they provided relevant teaching material to compliment the practical tasks the students would then undertake during the workshop. Hand-outs and time for questions and discussions ensured that all the students had time to digest what they had learned. “The response from the students has been so positive,” commented Hayley, “They have all enjoyed this way of learning and feel happier practising on the models and mannequins than the live animals. The concept of animal welfare is still quite new here and we are trying to demonstrate that just because something has gone on for decades or seems normal, that doesn’t make it acceptable”.
“I was initially very upset when I saw the locally anaesthetised but conscious cows and sheep being used for the students to practise surgical skills on but appreciate that this was the way of vet schools in the UK until a few years ago. The Chinese Veterinary Medical Association is striving towards improvements in their curriculum and this is very encouraging to hear indeed”.
Heather and Hayley hope to return to Nanjing Agricultural University next year to teach the teachers who will hopefully go on to be a driving force in veterinary education with animal welfare  at the forefront of their teaching.

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