Anesthesia simulation training at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine

Sierra Phillips College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona, Oro Valley, AZ

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Mindy Burnett College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona, Oro Valley, AZ

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Faculty members at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine are enhancing veterinary education by embracing evidence-based practices. Research led by the surgical instruction team has highlighted the significant impact of simulation-based training on developing clinical skills among veterinary students.

In a recent article1 published by the team, the study investigated the effectiveness of simulation training in refining the anesthetic skills of veterinary students. The research aimed to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical expertise, with a particular focus on students with varying levels of experience in anesthesia. Their findings affirmed that simulation training is indispensable in developing anesthetic skills. Even students with no prior exposure to clinical anesthesia ultimately displayed proficiency like their more seasoned counterparts, a testament to the efficacy of simulation training in nurturing skill acquisition and competence.

Although a wealth of research exists on simulation training for human medical professionals, more research is needed in veterinary medicine. Seeing the strong, positive impact on Arizona students’ skill development, the team formally studied outcomes so that students could share information about the benefits of simulation-based training and provide a basis for further inquiry into this topic. By shedding light on the potential of simulation training, the research helps pave the way for an expanded research agenda to refine and augment anesthesia and surgical simulation programs.

Simulation training helps students develop skills in a diverse range of anesthesia tasks. From pressure-checking anesthesia machines to executing complex procedures, students are guided through a spectrum of simulated scenarios designed to enhance their technical proficiency and decision-making abilities. They have found that this immersive approach not only bolsters technical proficiency but also instills a sense of confidence and preparedness. Simulation-based training provides a safe and controlled environment for students to hone their skills, make mistakes, and learn without risk to patients. Students are better prepared to meet the demands of modern veterinary practice when they engage in surgical and anesthesia simulations.


Second-year students work in the surgical simulation room to prepare for live-animal surgical courses.

Citation: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 262, 5; 10.2460/javma.24.03.0163

Dr. Fernando Armitrano, Assistant Professor of Practice, highlighted the college’s approach to teaching these vital clinical skills, saying, “We hope to expand the research aspect of simulation training in veterinary medicine, look for more ways [to improve] anesthesia and surgical simulation training for veterinary students, and refine and promote the development of multiple skills they will require after they become veterinarians.”

The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine’s commitment to innovative teaching methodologies, such as simulation training and experiential learning, reflects its dedication to excellence in veterinary education. Through these initiatives, the college prepares students to become confident and competent clinicians with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their future careers.



Amitrano FN, Quiroz LE, Jaffe IR, Goetz NG, Coy HA, Keegan RD. Evaluation of anesthetic skills acquisition in pre-graduate veterinary students with different grades of anesthetic experience using veterinary simulation exercises. Front Vet Sci. 2023;10:1254930. doi:10.3389/fvets.2023.1254930

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