Bernard Grevemeyer and Andrew Knight
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Dedicated clinical skills laboratories (CSLs) that make use of models, mannequins and simulators, are being increasingly established in medical and veterinary schools. These have been commonplace in medical schools for more than two decades, but their incorporation within the teaching of veterinary curricula has occurred much more recently. In 2007, a decision was taken to establish a CSL at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. We considered the range of skills that we wished to teach, the physical space and equipment needed, the storage and air conditioning requirements, the facilities needed to deliver PowerPoint lectures and case study presentations, and other essentials necessary to handle cadaver specimens. We converted an appropriate campus building to our needs, hired teaching staff, and started to source models and mannequins for the teaching of veterinary clinical skills. In 2010, 177 senior students completed a survey evaluating their experiences within our CSL. Student satisfaction was generally high, with 95% of respondents feeling that the CSL had improved their psychomotor skills. However, 15% of them felt that the models were insufficiently realistic. Our clinical skills programme has since developed considerably, and it currently offers instruction in a diverse array of surgical, medical and other clinical skills. We hope that this description of our experiences may assist others embarking on similar projects elsewhere.