Comparing the Efficacy of a New Clinical Skills Model with a Traditional Method to Teach Tube Feeding of an Avian Patient

Amy Dronfield, Rowena Killick, Sheena M Warman, Livia Benato, Nicola J Rooney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Interactive clinical skills models have been demonstrated to be useful for teaching medical and veterinary clinical skills, yet to date, very few exist for teaching skills relevant to zoological companion animals and wildlife species including birds. This two-part study aimed to create, develop, and validate a model. Interviews and a survey were conducted using veterinary and wildlife professionals to select an avian clinical skill that is challenging and performed frequently. Tube/gavage feeding, or “crop tubing” satisfied both criteria; on average it was performed 71 times a year by surveyed respondents was rated 3.4/9 for difficulty of teaching and 3.5/9 for difficulty of learning. Therefore, a new model of a bird, made from a soft toy, silicone, and 3D printed parts, was designed to train students to perform this technique. Forty-two participants were recruited and divided into two groups; one used the model the other watched an instructional video on crop tubing. The students completed a self-evaluated confidence questionnaire, before and after, using either resource. They then performed the technique on a dead bird and their proficiency at 10 different actions that comprised the technique was evaluated by two assessors. The model group performed significantly better than the video group on all evaluated actions (U ≤ 143.5, p ≤ .0031), and reported significantly higher confidence (U = 129.5, p = 0.018). In conclusion, the newly developed model in combination with an instruction booklet offers an effective and inexpensive alternative way to teach crop tubing in a teaching environment, without compromising animal welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20220033
Pages (from-to)732-742
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Issue number6
Early online date17 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, 2023.

Structured keywords

  • Veterinary Education Research Group


  • Clinical skills model, simulator, crop tubing, veterinary education.

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