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An evidence-based approach to workplace anaesthesia training. Part 2

02 October 2021
9 mins read
Volume 12 · Issue 8
Figure 1. Bloom's taxonomy of learning (Bloom et al, 1956)


Part one of this article considered the value of using educational evidence to teach student veterinary nurses (SVNs), discussed the characteristics of SVNs as learners, and described the importance of developing SVNs—not only in their anaesthetic skills, but also in becoming more self-directed professionals. As part one highlighted some of the challenges that SVNs experience as they attempt to learn in a veterinary practice, this second part will consider some common questions about veterinary nursing teaching and provide examples of techniques that can be used by registered veterinary nurses (RVNs) to improve teaching strategies for anaesthesia in the workplace. While some of the educational theories mentioned may be dated, this article aims to use supportive contemporary evidence to show how they are still relevant to help guide our teaching.

Workplace learning can be challenging for both the student veterinary nurse (SVN) (Taylor and Armitage-Chan, 2021), and the registered veterinary nurse (RVN). This article discusses some questions that may arise in a workplace teaching situation.

When a SVN enters a workplace, they are expected to begin to ‘put into action’ what they have learned in the classroom. This is no simple transition (Konkola et al, 2007). Students may struggle to contextualise their classroom lessons into an applied, higher-order form of knowledge that is required in an authentic clinical environment, which may appear as ‘forgetting’. Bloom's taxonomy (Bloom et al, 1956), later revised by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001), describes six levels of learning (Figure 1). These levels of learning represent the difference between being able to define the meaning of a word, for example, ‘hypotension’, and being able to predict the physiological consequences and how these would be identified when monitoring the patient. Drawing attention to these levels of learning can help avoid frustration. Although the knowledge of the workplace may seem more relevant than the foundational knowledge of the classroom, learning is most effective when it is constructed developmentally, and the SVN recognises their relevant pre-existing knowledge (Bloom et al, 1956). Focusing on classroom theory in the context of an anaesthetic case can therefore help students recognise what relevant knowledge they already possess, rather than feeling as though all of the information is new. Similarly, when considering student involvement in more complex anaesthetic cases, the SVN can be asked to consider what they have learned from simpler cases, relating to adverse anaesthetic effects and management. In practice, it should be remembered that these levels actually form a cycle, and on reaching a higher level, a student may discover their need to return to a lower level to develop a new skill or idea (Taylor and Hamdy, 2013).

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