Current 3rd-year Veterinary Student Tharsicaa shares her insight on the Clinical Skills Laboratory part of the Veterinary Sciences Building.

Hello again. If you are interested in pursuing a degree in Veterinary Medicine at UCD, one thing I can confidently say with my 2 years of experience in vet med is that there are endless resources to help you succeed in this field.

One of my favourite places in the Veterinary Sciences building is the Clinical Skills Laboratory. It is a well-designed space that has multiple resources for students to come in and practice the day one skills and competencies in their programs for both Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Nursing.

One great feature to the lab is that they have an online website with videos and mini-tutorials on how to learn most of these competencies – which is a great way to get ahead and start practising things you will need to do every day in your profession.

Veterinary Skills Lab

So far I’ve been able to go into the lab and not only practice but also learn new suturing techniques. Being able to correctly and quickly suture is vital in the clinical setting, so having the opportunity to practice that outside of the classroom has been a great help in improving my technique. It is also fairly quite a relaxing place to be able to come in and practice – often I find myself bringing in my laptop and watching TV while I suture; a great way to take a break while still feeling productive.

Another skill I’ve learned first at the Clinical Skills Lab is placing an intravenous catheter and bandaging accordingly. It’s a great experience to be able to learn this early on before you start your clinical placements so that you have a basic understanding of what you are trying to do. This way you can work on improving your skills during your placements. It’s also an advantage to be able to repeatedly practise this skill in the lab on a simulated model (a stuffed dog or cat) and make your mistakes and better learn from them.

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The Clinical Skills Lab is also a great place to practice your animal handling skills in your first few years in a Veterinary Sciences program because there are simulated models to work with. There’s a horse, cow, dog and cat model for students to use and practice handling and restraint techniques. These models also come in handy when reviewing your anatomy.

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The Clinical Skills Lab in the vet med building provides most of the materials you’ll need to carry out your practicing – they have suture material, suture pads, surgical instruments, needles, gauze, bandages, ropes and even an x-ray model to practice your diagnostic imaging techniques. It’s a great place to review the different types of surgical instruments and how to appropriately position your patient for a specific radiograph image. There are even cages with animal models where you can learn basic hospitalization procedures and monitoring your patient. All you really have to do is show up with a positive mindset to learn something new. The Clinical Skills Lab is there as a resource to help you strengthen your skillset.

To find out more about the Veterinary Medicine courses here in UCD visit the MyUCD Website here.