Braid HR. The Use of Simulators for Teaching Practical Clinical Skills to Veterinary Students - A Review. Altern Lab Anim. 2022 May;50(3):184-194

PMID: 35587390


In the context of veterinary education, simulators are devices or sets of conditions aiming to imitate real patients and enable students to practice skills without the need for live animal use. Simulator use in veterinary education has increased significantly in recent years, allowing consistent practical teaching without reliance on clinical cases. This review examines the available literature regarding the use of simulation and simulators for teaching practical day one competences to veterinary students. Scientific databases were searched and 73 relevant articles were reviewed. The reviewed articles revealed that there are a number of simulators currently available to veterinary educators, that simulators can enhance student skills and provide an alternative learning environment without the need for live animal and/or cadaver use, and that they usually receive positive feedback from the students who use them. There appears to be a bias towards small animal simulators - however, some skills that are developed through the use of small animal or table-top models will be transferrable to other species. The majority of large animal simulators focus on bovine rectal palpation and/or pregnancy diagnosis. Further research is required to increase the repertoire of available simulators for use in veterinary education, in order to improve the practical skills of veterinary students and reduce the use of live animals and cadaver material for teaching purposes.