Assignments with Specimens in order to learn Clinical Reasoning in Veterinary Medicine
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A 3D insight in the building plan of different animal species is essential for a veterinarian when applying clinical reasoning (CR), one of the key competencies in veterinary clinical practice. Retrieving information from clinical examination is based on 3D insight, something Master students need during their internships in the clinic. However, CR is taught in the Bachelor with paper-based cases. This transition leads for beginning Master students to a lack of 3D insight and practice in decision-making based on 3D objects. One possible way to bridge this gap is the use of specimens, 3D visual aids. Therefore, three self-study assignments were designed and validated. Participants were 47 students from the Companion Animal track of the Master Veterinary Medicine, working in pairs. Think aloud protocols were recorded and analyzed for the occurrence of the different steps of CR. After each assignment, students filled out a brief questionnaire on their experiences with the assignment. The analysis revealed that all three assignments evoked CR, however, they all showed a slightly different reasoning pattern. This is due to the influence of characteristics in the assignments, which include questions and phrasing. The way in which the specimens are addressed greatly influences their usage; as information source or as tool for decision making. Concluding, this study is the first to provide a format for CR self-study assignments with specimens. It provides insight in the influence of characteristics of these assignments, important in helping students gain a 3D insight and confidence in decision-making based on specimens.