Achieving Proficiency Through Practice
Open 24-hours daily, staffed by experienced veterinary professionals, and equipped with models and manikins to teach a wide range of clinical skills, the Illinois Clinical Skills Learning Center is among the most comprehensive in the world.
- Learn and practice fundamental technical skills early in the curriculum, under the guidance of experienced coaches.
- Use manikins, models, and other simulators to reduce animal use and prepare students to perform real procedures at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital
WHY CHOOSE ILLINOIS?
For the past several years, when candidates being interviewed for admission were asked why they chose to apply to Illinois, the unique Illinois curriculum, with its world-class Clinical Skills Learning Center (CSLC), was the most common answer.
Among the features of this 1,600-square-foot facility are:
- Small animal models and skills: Feline and canine CPR mannequins, intubation trainers, models for venipuncture (jugular and cephalic), thoracentesis, bandaging, positioning for imaging, catheter placement, flexible and rigid endoscopy, and more.
- Large animal models and skills: Equine colic simulator, dystocia calf model, equine and bovine pregnancy palpation simulators, dehorning, castration, restraint, animal identification, oral medication delivery, epidural and CSF tap, transtracheal wash, and more.
- Surgical prep: Sterile preparation for surgery, suturing simulators for large and small patients, anesthesia equipment.
- Communications Skills Center: Four mock exam rooms equipped to record students as they respond to simulated encounters with clients.
WHAT ROLE DOES CSLC PLAY IN THE ILLINOIS DVM?
Illinois veterinary students have 24/7 access to CSLC to practice and build their skills. The CSLC also features prominently in the structured portion of the four-year curriculum.
During their first 8-week clinical practice course (VM 601), first-year students spend time embedded in service areas within the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. These rotations are paired with careful hands-on instruction in the CSLC working on related skills. Skills taught include surgical prep, suturing, physical exams, restraint, communication, and anesthesia.
Second-year students continue to practice a variety of clinical skills during their second 8-week clinical practice course (VM 606). Every second-year student must demonstrate proficiency in specific clinical skills during the objective, structured, clinical examinations (OSCEs), conducted during the final week of VM 606.
During the third year of the DVM program, students visit the CSLC for communications electives, third-year labs, and ongoing practice. A second round of OSCEs are administered to all third-year students before the start of their final year, which is devoted to clinical learning in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and other clinical settings. The OSCEs assure achievement in competencies needed to successfully advance in the curriculum.
Fourth-year students experience clinical rotations and participate in intern and resident welcome week training.
TOURS, OUTREACH, AND COLLABORATION
Tours of the Clinical Skills Learning Center are available to prospective students, faculty, and guests of the University. The College also engages in collaboration with other institutions of veterinary medicine during our summer research training program.
CLINICAL ROTATIONS: YEARS 1 AND 2
View images and video of the areas of training covered within the Clinical Skills Learning Center.
The Clinical Skills Learning Center teaches sterile preparation for surgery. First and second-year veterinary students practice gowning, proper scrubbing, and closed glove technique with guidance from instructors.
Suturing simulators are available for large and small patients. Students on surgery rotation practice types of suturing on animal boards and cadavers.
Students learn emergency patient monitoring, intubation, and IV catheter placement on the center’s anesthesia equipment.
Watch a veterinary student practice intubation in this short video:
PHYSICAL EXAMS AND RESTRAINT
The CSLC gives students the opportunity to practice restraining and handling stuffed animals as well as live animals.
The Communications skills center is home to four mock exam rooms equipped to record students as they respond to simulated encounters with clients.
Students practice CPR to prepare for critical situations.
The following short video demonstrates an intradermal injection, used to test for tuberculosis in cattle:
Other skills taught at the CSLC include castration, interpretation of refractometer data, practicing injections, and second-year rotations with USDA regulatory medicine. Small animal models and skills. Feline and canine CPR mannequins, intubation trainers, models for venipuncture (jugular and cephalic), thoracentesis, bandaging, positioning for imaging, catheter placement, flexible and rigid endoscopy, and more. Large animal models and skills: Equine colic simulator, dystocia calf model, equine and bovine pregnancy palpation simulators, dehorning, castration, restraint, animal identification, oral medication delivery, epidural and CSF tap, transtracheal wash, and more.