University of Calgary hosts one of the first conferences on simulators
Aug. 8, 2012
Before veterinary medicine students at the University of Calgary start working with real animals, they spend a lot of time with simulated horses, cows and dogs.
This week, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is hosting one of the first conferences of its kind to showcase these new simulators and how they help teach veterinary clinical skills.
The INVEST 2012 Conference (International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching) will bring together about 100 veterinary educators from all over the world—including Canada, the US, the Caribbean, the UK, Australia and South Africa.
“We’re creating these simulators so we can spend more time proficiently teaching clinical skills,” says Emma Read, a senior instructor in clinical skills is a conference organizer. “When the students eventually move to the live animal, they have much more understanding of the mechanics of the skills involved and have a much greater comfort with what they’re doing.”
Sophisticated simulators such as the ones developed in Calgary are fairly new in veterinary education. “We get lots of phone calls probably on a weekly basis from other schools all over the world,” she says. “People phone us and say ‘we hear you are developing simulators, what are you doing?’ They want to know how we’re actually incorporating simulators into our teaching.”
The faculty, in partnership with Calgary-based Veterinary Simulator Industries Ltd, will demonstrate new simulators including a horse distal limb model for teaching nerve and joint blocks and a model for teaching dog spays. Other models—including a full size cow to teach calving and a full size horse to teach colic diagnosis skills—will also be showcased.
Other schools and sponsoring companies will demonstrate some of their models including the North American launch of the Haptic Cow, developed to help train veterinary students to palpate a cow's reproductive tract, to perform fertility examinations and to diagnose pregnancy.
The creator of the haptic model, Dr. Sarah Baillie, is a keynote speaker at the conference. The simulator, which is distributed by Virtalis Ltd, lets students perform rectal palpation of a cow and horse via a computerized haptic device.