Small Animal Internal Medicine

Research Abstract

HM03 - Educating Veterinary Students in an Intensive Care Unit: Impact of a Transfusion Reaction Learning Module

Friday, June 15
8:30 AM - 8:45 AM
Location: WSCC 307/308

Blood product transfusions are used commonly in veterinary medicine. Similar types of transfusion reactions are seen in veterinary patients as those seen in humans. The incidence of reactions in dogs and cats is considered higher than in people and the severity of reactions is similar with the potential for some reactions to be fatal. In human medicine, lack of education in transfusion medicine has been shown to lead to inappropriate blood product use, which in turn can lead to an increased incidence of transfusion reactions. Most veterinary college core curricula provide limited education in the area of small animal transfusion reactions. Improving veterinary student education could lead to earlier recognition of reactions as well as improved knowledge in the areas of prevention and treatment. This may ultimately lead to a reduction in patient morbidity and mortality.   

The objectives of this randomized controlled study were to develop and test the instructional efficacy of an online learning module on transfusion reactions in small animals and to evaluate participants’ satisfaction of the module. Our hypothesis was that students who completed the module would perform better on two post module assessments compared to students who received information about transfusion reactions through traditional methods (i.e. verbal instruction, clinical case rounds).

Content for the module was developed by veterinary specialists in the areas of internal medicine, critical care, and clinical pathology with guidance from an educational specialist and designed by an instructional design coordinator. The interactive module covered recognition, treatment, prevention, case examples, and self-assessment questions for 6 common transfusion reactions. Fourth year veterinary students on their critical care rotation were randomly selected to either receive the instructional module (treatment group) or only receive standard rotation instruction on transfusion reactions (control group). Two tests covering the same concepts were developed and students randomly received 1 as a pretest at the start of rotation and the other as a posttest at the end of the 2 week rotation. Immediately following the pretest, the treatment group received the learning module and module satisfaction survey. The survey asked students to rate their level of agreement to 10 statements on a 1-5 scale (1= strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree). All students were asked to complete an optional retention test, composed of questions from the pre and posttests, 1 month later.

A total of 45 students completed both the pre and posttests and were included in the study. Of these students, 23 were in the treatment group and received the module and 22 were in the control group. Thirty-three of the 45 students (73%) also completed the retention test (18 from the treatment group and 15 from the control group). Students in the treatment group scored significantly higher on the posttest (p < 0.001) and retention test (p = 0.002) than those students that did not receive the learning module. Mean post test scores were 73.8% and 56.1% and mean retention test scores were 71.2% and 46.6% for the treatment and control groups respectively. Nineteen of the 23 students (83%) in the treatment group completed the satisfaction survey. Students taking the survey indicated that the module was easy to use (mean 4.89), that information was presented in a clear manner (mean 5), and 89% of students agreed that the module was a good use of their educational time (mean 4.73).      

In conclusion, a transfusion reaction instructional module can be delivered successfully to veterinary students on clinical rotations and is considered beneficial by the students. Administration of the learning module resulted in significantly improved transfusion reaction knowledge and improved knowledge retention over conventional clinical instruction methods in 4th year veterinary students. 

Jillian Haines, MS, DACVIM

Assistant Professor
Washington State University

Dr. Jillian Haines is an assistant professor in small animal internal medicine at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

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