Analysis of teaching methods in anaesthesia in the undergraduate curriculum of four veterinary universities



      To design a holistic audit tool to assess the effectiveness of anaesthesia teaching strategies, and thereby to study veterinary undergraduate teaching methods in different geographical areas.

      Study design

      Qualitative study using interviews of university staff and students to identify common themes and differences in teaching veterinary anaesthesia.


      An audit was performed using an audit tool in four veterinary universities (École Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort, France; Royal Veterinary College, UK; University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Alma mater studiorum - Università di Bologna, Italy). First, an open-question interview of anaesthesia head of service (60–90 minutes) identified the pedagogical strategies in order to conceive a subsequent semi-directive interview formulated as a SWOT analysis (Strength/Weaknesses/Opportunity/Threats). Second, the SWOT reflection was conducted by a second staff member and focussed on: 1) general organization; 2) topics for pre-rotation teaching; 3) teaching methods for clinical rotation; and 4) assessment methods. Qualitative analysis of the interview responses was performed with semi-structured interviews. Finally, the students evaluated their teaching through a students’ questionnaire generated from the output of both interviews.


      A group of nine lecturers and 106 students participated in the study at four different sites. Preclinical teaching ranged from 13 to 24 hours (median 15 hours). Clinical teaching ranged from 4 to 80 hours (median 60 hours). Overall, all faculties perceived time as a limitation and attempted to design strategies to achieve the curriculum expectations and optimize teaching using more time-efficient exercises. Large animal anaesthesia teaching was found to be a common area of weakness. Internal feedback was delivered to each university, whereas generalized results were shared globally.


      This preliminary study proved the generalizability of the protocol used. Recruiting a larger pool of universities would help to identify and promote efficient teaching strategies and innovations for training competent new graduates in an ever-expanding curriculum.


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