MacArthur SL, Johnson MD, Colee JC. Effect of a Spay Simulator on Student Competence and Anxiety. J Vet Med Educ. 2021 Feb;48(1):115-128. doi: 10.3138/jvme.0818-089r3. Epub 2020 Mar 12.

PMID: 32163019


Spay simulation has gained attention at colleges of veterinary medicine that seek to utilize low-cost models in lieu of more cost-prohibitive high-fidelity devices or cadaveric specimens. A spay simulator was developed to provide veterinary students at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine a reusable, inexpensive, and error-enabled device for self-practice in anticipation of a live canine ovariohysterectomy. Seventy-four students were recruited, half of whom participated in spay simulation training. A survey was designed to capture students' state and trait anxiety, as well as their self-assessed perceived levels of competence, confidence, and knowledge of anatomy, before and after their live animal surgery. During the live surgical laboratories, surgical competencies were assessed using the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OSATS) for operative performance. We hypothesized that the spay simulation training group would have higher reported levels of competence, confidence, and knowledge of anatomy. Additionally, students enrolled in spay simulation training were expected to exhibit a lower level of post-operative anxiety and higher OSATS scores compared with the control group. Results demonstrated a significant increase in perceived anatomical knowledge and improvement in perceived competence level following spay simulation training as compared with the control group. Areas of no difference included perceived confidence, OSATS scores, and overall level of anxiety. The results of this study demonstrate that this low-fidelity spay simulator has a unique place in student surgical training, producing novice surgeons with increased perceived competence and knowledge of anatomy following spay simulation training and live animal surgery.