Trainee vets in the last three years of their course are set to benefit from a brand new clinical skills centre opened last Wednesday by Lord Sainsbury.
The refurbishment also includes nine new consultation rooms, a new pharmacy and a relocated pathology lab.
Intended to help students with professional and social skills needed during their future career, Dr. Clare Allen, currently a senior teaching associate and graduate from the Veterinary School, commented to Cambridge News: "The clinical skills centre is making us re-think how we structure education in general; we are trying to give them [the students] some structure to their learning.”
She added, “It's a safe environment for them to take things out, practise them in a safe way, so we can give them better feedback before they ever get anywhere near a live animal.”
This most recent development follows the donation in September of an anaesthesia workstation to the school by the Animal Health Trust. Funding has also been provided by the school's ‘Camvet’ campaign, which raised the £330,000 necessary to equip the centre with state-of-the-art technology. Innovations include stuffed toy dogs, modified with replica glass eyes on which students can conduct practice eye examinations. A rubber mould of a dog’s jaw will be used to practice giving medicine, while suturing is to be practiced on specially designed plastic pads.
Dr. Matthew McMillan, senior clinical training scholar in anaesthesia, commented: "From a teaching point of view it gives us somewhere we can take the students without getting in anyone's way. It has completely changed the way we do things."
Founded in 1949, the latest developments follow a drive, begun during the 1990s, to provide high-quality and up-to-date facilities for veterinary science students at the University of Cambridge.
It is also hoped that the scope of the school will, in the future, be extended to include veterinary nurses. Jackie Brearley, the School's academic leader for clinical skills commented: "Ultimately the more it's used the better it is going to be, and the more it's going to benefit people."