Development of the VN online clinical placement tool
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Learning on clinical placements is an important part of a veterinary nurse's training in UK higher education. Veterinary nursing students at the Royal Veterinary College begin their first placement within 4 months of starting the course and in total will spend at least 60 weeks in placements. Staff and placement providers recognize a need to investigate ways to improve student preparation for learning on placements, with the aim being to enable students to get the most out of the valuable learning opportunities provided. A computer aided learning (CAL) program, the ‘VN Online Clinical Placement Tool’ was created, based on the ‘EMS Driving Licence’ which was designed to assist veterinary students in preparing for their Extramural Studies (EMS). To help develop the content of the nursing CAL, three stakeholder groups were consulted: qualified veterinary nurses in practice, university staff and students. Several aspects of the original veterinary CAL were considered suitable for nursing students and were preserved, for example the main section headings and the ability to print a personalized certificate of completion. Specific issues particularly relevant for nursing students that were not addressed in the original CAL were identified and added. The CAL was evaluated by five second year students via a focus group. Thematic analysis on the results identified three major themes: positive aspects of the CAL; negative aspects; and areas for improvement. Several suggested improvements were implemented, including introductory videos to each section of the CAL. The final version was evaluated by three nurses in practice whose feedback was positive. All agreed that they would use the CAL with future students. The CAL is available online at www. live.ac.uk/vn_placement.
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