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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-31

Undergraduate veterinary nursing education: A virtual active learning module integrating knowledge and skills

1 Veterinary Administration Department, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
2 Veterinary Administration Department, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

Date of Submission30-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance14-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication23-May-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Julianne Stout
715 Clinic Drive Suite 2069, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/EHP.EHP_26_21

Rights and Permissions

This article details an innovative undergraduate veterinary nursing online educational module integrating workplace safety, management, and communication concepts with a review of hazards for immunocompromised individuals, such as zoonoses, and veterinary workplace risks to reproductive health. This flipped-classroom online session was designed based on the interactive, constructive, active, passive (ICAP) framework for active learning and using the principles of self-determination theory applied to the educational setting. The session used the expertise of a veterinary nursing instructor and a physician. The compressed time frame of veterinary nursing education compels veterinary nursing instructors to incorporate actionable real-world workplace issues and strategies into foundational science content in the classroom. The published literature on veterinary nursing education offers limited examples of this type of integration. This article breaks new ground in offering an example of an educational innovation in a veterinary nursing curriculum, building learner knowledge and skills in an interactive session.

Keywords: Active learning, flipped classroom, veterinary nursing education

How to cite this article:
Stout J, Smith J. Undergraduate veterinary nursing education: A virtual active learning module integrating knowledge and skills. Educ Health Prof 2022;5:22-31

How to cite this URL:
Stout J, Smith J. Undergraduate veterinary nursing education: A virtual active learning module integrating knowledge and skills. Educ Health Prof [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 7];5:22-31. Available from: https://www.ehpjournal.com/text.asp?2022/5/1/22/345788

  Introduction Top

Veterinary nursing education programs demand the acquisition of skills such as communication, team performance, and personal and situational safety in addition to the heavy demands of scientific and veterinary medical knowledge.

Blending these skills and knowledge provides a foundation that will prepare the graduate for the variety of roles they will perform in a veterinary setting. Education programs must provide effective experiences that conform to accreditation requirements and prepare learners for licensing exams and real-world practice. Examples of veterinary nursing curricular principles and applications in the published literature are sparse. Clarke et al.[1] investigated client perspectives as a source of priorities for veterinary technology curriculum in Australia. Clarke et al.[2] and Kinnison et al.[3] explored interprofessional education in the veterinary education setting. Varnhagen and Wright[4] described the learning characteristics of learners in distance-education and on-campus veterinary technology programs with implications for advising students. Additional studies of learning modules for veterinary nursing students can add to the literature supporting evidence-based veterinary nursing curricular innovations.

The application of current educational theories and methodologies to curricular modules is critical for health professions education, including veterinary nursing education programs. In the following paragraphs, we describe the design and implementation of an online flipped classroom module that was incorporated into a second-year veterinary nursing course. The module integrated knowledge and skills for veterinary nursing students.

  Background Top

Veterinary nursing education curricular requirements

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America National Credential Task Force recommended the credential of Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) in 2017 to clarify the professional standards of the veterinary nurse, with the goal of promoting public and professional recognition and expanded career potentials within veterinary nursing practice.[5] The credential change is still in process at local, state, and national levels. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and many state veterinary and veterinary technician associations have endorsed the initiative.[6]

In this article, the term veterinary nurse will be used, except where organizational titles and published statements specifically use another term. The veterinary nurse serves as the roving outfielder in the veterinary medical setting, an essential member with unique and wide-ranging skills that complement the contributions of other individuals on the veterinary team. As technology replaces many clerical functions, the veterinary nurse’s communication and connection skills continue to emerge as key factors for high-quality veterinary care. Veterinary nurses must show sophisticated teamwork and play essential roles both within the high-functioning veterinary team and in the client-facing aspects of veterinary work. All members of the veterinary medical team, working at the upper limits of their education, experience, and licensure, contribute to the health and wellness of their animal patients and human clients.

The AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA) manages AVMA accreditation of veterinary nursing educational programs. All traditional and distance-learning programs must meet the CVTEA Standards of Accreditation to maintain their credentials.[7] Accreditation standards for veterinary nursing education programs list communication skills as one of the four major general areas in the required curriculum. Required specific course materials include coverage of management and leadership topics and skills including ethics, professionalism, workplace safety, and teamwork. Basic science topics such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and nutrition, and clinical skills such as anesthesia, animal husbandry, surgical nursing and assisting, and clinical pathology and parasitology must also be taught within an equivalent of 60 total credit hours. The curricular requirements illustrate the emphasis on interpersonal skills in addition to didactic knowledge.

Veterinary nursing licensure requirements

In addition to educational qualifications, passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) is required by most United States state licensing agencies for veterinary technician credentialing.[8] The exam ensures that entry-level veterinary technicians have shown specific skills and knowledge before entering the profession. The exam content specified by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) includes nine domains and forty-nine knowledge statements.[9] Domain 5, Animal Care and Nursing, which comprises 20% of the exam, includes educating clients and the public about animal care, including zoonoses. The VTNE Knowledge Statements, which describe the knowledge assessed in the exam, include public and environmental health and safety procedures and techniques for communicating with the veterinary medical team and client. The licensing exam shows robust investment in veterinary nursing interpersonal skills in addition to didactic knowledge components.

Frameworks supporting module design

The compressed time frame of a veterinary nurse’s education makes delivery of the wide range of concepts challenging. Many articles in the recent educational literature have focused on the effectiveness of and student preference for active learning techniques rather than traditional lecture-based teaching.[10],[11],[12],[13] We designed an educational module, delivered within a course on safety and occupational health, to reinforce concepts about zoonoses and other workplace hazards while developing communication and leadership skills. This session provides an example of integrating medical knowledge with professionalism skills. The session plan connects these topics and maps to curricular accreditation requirements and licensing exam content. Further, this module uses a flipped-classroom approach combined with active learning to maximize student engagement. The design of this module was influenced by the interactive, constructive, active, passive (ICAP) framework for classifying active learning modules described by Chi,[14] and the self-determination theory applied to learning.[15]

Interactive, constructive, active, passive framework

Active learning techniques can be classified according to the ICAP framework. Chi[14] defined interactive, constructive, active, and passive learning activities. Interactive activities include discussion with others about the material presented. Constructive activities result in the production of outputs by the learner that extend or apply the presented information. An example of infusing active opportunities into learning is asking students to answer questions about the material presented. Passive activities include lecture when the student is not asked to actively engage with the material. Learning has been found to occur most effectively when students are engaged in interactive activities, with constructive, active, and then passive environments showing descending levels of impact and knowledge retention.[15] Lim et al.[16] studied South Korean health professions learners and found that students who studied material then generated questions about the material learned more effectively than those who passively listened to lectures and then summarized the material. Quesnelle et al.[17] applied the ICAP framework to pharmacology curricula among seven allopathic medical schools in the US and found that pharmacology content was more engaging when it was combined with other foundational science material in integrative learning sessions.

The flipped classroom model has emerged as one modality to increase the interactive nature of the classroom experience. Bergmann and Sams[18] detailed the concept of using classroom time for active learning to apply concepts learned in assigned prework. In a 2020 meta-analysis of the flipped classroom technique, Zheng et al.[19] found that the technique moderately improved learning achievement and motivation, especially when used with smaller class sizes and for longer durations.

We designed our flipped classroom learning module with a pre-recorded mini-lecture with accompanying student self-quiz questions as prework to stimulate active engagement with the material. The live class session consisted of instructor modeling of a veterinary nurse-client interaction, then small group breakout time to practice further professional discussions. After returning to the large group setting, we encouraged students to volunteer to practice modeling the discussions and then debriefed those simulated conversations. The live session was designed to infuse interaction and activity among learners both with each other and with the instructors.

Self-determination theory

The self-determination theory also informed the design of this learning module.[20] This theory posits that internal motivation and engagement are driven by an individual’s experience of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The theory has been applied to health professionals’ well-being, as well as health professions’ educational approaches and settings. Bernard et al.[21] studied health professionals to explore the relationships of autonomy, competence, and relatedness with mindfulness and vitality, two forms of well-being. The authors found that meeting competence needs was correlated with increased vitality. Orsini et al.[22] reviewed the literature on the application of self-determination theory to analyze health professions students’ motivation. They found that students’ motivation was impacted by both student characteristics and the educational experience. Creating an educational environment that supports student autonomy through providing feedback and offering rationales and encouraging reflection on the connection between educational activities and future professional work, can increase internal motivation and positive learning outcomes. Martin et al.[23] used a self-determination theory design framework to increase student motivation and engagement in a massive online open course related to sports medicine. A self-paced, immersive course experience was coupled with frequent feedback and communication between learners and between learners and faculty. The course feedback indicated that learners felt autonomy and competence needs were supported to a large degree, with relatedness needs supported to a lesser degree. Kusurkar et al.[24] recommended tips for health professions teachers to stimulate intrinsic motivation in learners, including encouraging learner active participation and personal responsibility for learning, providing structured guidance and constructive feedback, listening to student feedback including negative comments, giving emotional support, and communicating the value of the class activities. We designed our learning module to consider the three primary needs as follows:

  • Autonomy: opportunity to view prerecorded mini-lecture and engage with self-quiz questions at time and place of learner’s choosing, and volunteer for large group discussions only if desired.

  • Competence: student opportunity to gain knowledge and demonstrate new knowledge in self-assessment questions and in-class interaction.

  • Relatedness: in-class discussion fostered deeper discussion of personal values with peers (client and veterinary professional priorities in care, and balance of professional and family life demands for veterinary nurses).

  • Inquiry-based communication model

    The communication model for shared decision-making used for this session was drawn from a community medical guideline example.[25] The model focused the learner to first elicit the preferences of the communication partner; then to share the learner’s experience; next to ask the communication partner if more information was needed, then finally to ask if the learner’s recommendation was sought. Our goal was to encourage learners to begin conversations with inquiry rather than with declarations.

      Materials and Methods Top

    This study was reviewed as an exempt protocol IRB-2021–851 by the University Institutional Review Board. A veterinary nursing instructional technologist and a physician medical educator developed the module. These instructors facilitated the live online time-synchronous session and analyzed de-identified pre-session quiz and final exam question performance and student feedback. The course module materials included coverage of the following topics required by accreditation standards for veterinary nursing education:[7]

  • Communication/interaction skills with clients and colleagues

  • Ethics, professionalism, and legal applications in veterinary medicine

  • Life-long learning concepts

  • Safety issues, consistent with the CVTEA statement on safety with course work emphasis on zoonoses and occupational safety[26]

  • Technician utilization and team concepts of health care delivery

  • Veterinary practice management

  • The session was presented to 29 veterinary nursing students enrolled in a safety, prevention, and public health course as part of the clinical portion of the curriculum. The overall course addresses selected safety, prevention, and public health issues related to the veterinary health care team, veterinary patients and clients, and the public. A veterinary nursing instructional technologist oversees the design and delivery of the course. We designed the learning module using a flipped-classroom approach with students completing the prework within the D2L Brightspace version (Desire2Learn, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) online learning management system before the scheduled time-synchronous online class session using Zoom (Zoom Video Communications, San Jose, California) videoconferencing software.

    The assigned prework (see Appendix 1) consisted of a 17-min recorded mini-lecture and six pages of reading. The lecture was recorded using the Kaltura Education Video Platform (Kaltura, New York City, New York) and embedded into the D2L Brightspace course site. Five accompanying student self-quiz questions embedded in the Brightspace site were used to stimulate active engagement with the material, and contributed ten points to the 270 total course points. These questions were constructed by a physician medical educator with 8 years of experience writing test questions and assessing item performance using National Board of Medical Examiners recommendations.[27] The five multiple-choice questions in the self-quiz included two questions that tested knowledge recall and three questions that assessed knowledge application. Correct answers and rationales were provided upon completion of the online quiz. Quizzing has been shown to improve information retrieval, with some indication that quiz questions that resemble the planned exam questions are more effective.[28],[29],[30] The students viewed the three written clinical vignettes and guiding questions that would be discussed during class before the session. The prework materials were assigned in the learning management system to be completed before the class session.

    The 50-min live class session occurred in a virtual classroom using a videoconference platform with virtual breakout rooms. The chat box feature was used to elicit student questions and responses during the session. The session was a first experience with virtual breakout rooms and virtual small group work for many students. After introductory material the two instructors modeled a discussion between veterinary nurse and client on advice regarding a client with a new diagnosis of immunosuppression. The instructors elicited student responses and feedback on the model discussion, and highlighted strengths and areas for improvement in the interaction. Students then worked in small groups in virtual breakout rooms to discuss the two additional scenarios, with the knowledge that volunteers would be elicited to role-play these conversations after return to the large group virtual classroom. The instructors were available to students during small group time but did not intrude on the small group space unless asked. Then, students volunteered to play roles including veterinary nurse, client, and veterinary nurse supervisor in two more scenarios focused on family decisions regarding choice of pets and risks to a pregnant veterinary nurse in the workplace. Following these model conversations, instructors led a debrief of those conversations. The flow of the class session is illustrated in [Figure 1].
    Figure 1: Flow of the class session

    Click here to view

    Student knowledge on the topics included in this module was assessed using three multiple-choice questions and two true-false questions on the final exam for the course. Four questions assessed recall and one question assessed application of knowledge. The exam questions were constructed by an instructional technologist with 7 years of experience writing and evaluating test questions in addition to 17 years of experience as a registered veterinary technician. Student perceptions about the learning module were gathered using anonymous input on a Google form. The instructors observed student knowledge and engagement as evidenced by student verbal and chatbox queries and comments, and student performance during the role-play model conversations.

      Results Top

    Pre-quiz and final exam multiple-choice questions were designed with a criterion-based curricular approach in mind and focused on foundational principles presented in the course session materials. Pre-quiz and final exam questions were similar but not identical. Question composition and student performance on quiz and test questions are represented in [Table 1]. One student did not participate in the pre-quiz, and their score of zero was not included in the calculations.
    Table 1: Prework quiz and final exam results

    Click here to view

    The instructors observed that the students were very engaged in the large-group session introductory material and the instructor role-playing demonstration. Students provided observations and suggestions on the conversation both verbally and via the chatbox. When asked to provide at least one area for improvement on the role-play conversation, students contributed useful feedback. During the student role-playing section, students showed supportive, inquiry-based communication in both scenarios, attending to the humanistic aspects of interpersonal communication as well as transmitting accurate data. The students observing their peers’ model conversations offered insightful advice for improvement and affirmation of their colleagues’ efforts.

    One post-session poll question asked students to rate how helpful the content was on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (not helpful) to 5 (very helpful). Nineteen students responded from the class of 29 students. Eighty-four percent of respondents rated the session as “helpful” or “very helpful.” Twelve learners also responded to an open-ended question eliciting their comments on the session. Student comments highlighted enjoyment of discussion with peers in virtual breakout rooms, and appreciation of the opportunity to practice conversation and both give and receive feedback. Comments also indicated student desire for additional instruction in the use of virtual breakout rooms, and more tips on how to address difficult conversations. Student comments illustrating these themes are available for review in Appendix 2.

      Discussion Top

    The flipped-classroom approach was a new experience for students in the course. In addition, this approach is not currently used consistently elsewhere in the curriculum. However, students responded to the flipped-classroom approach positively and enthusiastically engaged in conversation in both small and large group settings during the session. Students engaged with the prework and with the time-synchronous session, and academic performance on pre-quiz and exam questions was strong. During the class session, the students showed the ability to incorporate didactic knowledge about zoonoses into a conversation with a simulated client experiencing immunosuppression. They also displayed the ability to use an inquiry-based approach to discuss work duty adjustments for a pregnant veterinary professional in a simulated workplace-based dialogue. Finally, we saw evidence that students were willing to provide constructive feedback to their peers about the strengths and areas for improvement in communication techniques, and to brainstorm about more ideas for communication improvement. We observed the effective learning we expected from the interactive nature of the module. Student comments indicated evidence of relatedness resulting from vibrant small group and large group conversations.

    Our assessment was designed to emulate the veterinary nursing licensing exam format. The current veterinary nursing licensing examination, consisting of only multiple-choice questions, confers a limited ability to evaluate critical skills such as communication and leadership. Haladyna and Downing[31] summarized the advantages of using multiple-choice questions for cognitive assessments, including superior content sampling, test score reliability, efficiency of test construction and scoring, and applicability to testing many types of content and cognitive processes. However, Martinez[32] acknowledged that although multiple-choice questions can be constructed to assess higher order thinking, the author noted that “some aspects of proficiency that require complex performance are beyond the reach of the multiple-choice format”.

    Because we sought to provide more nuanced feedback and guidance to students on communication skills, we prioritized feedback during the discussion portion of the class session. Building communication and leadership skills would ideally be woven into the entire veterinary nursing curriculum and assessed using naturalistic techniques more consistent with the social nature of these skills. Building these types of curricular structures and assessments is a work in progress in health professions education, perhaps evidenced by work on milestones and entrustable professional activities.[33],[34],[35]

    Limitations and future directions

    Our experience was limited by our online single-site, single course experience with veterinary nursing students, but is supported by current adult learning theories and frameworks. We plan to enlarge upon our experience with further curricular adjustments. As this learning experience was positive and effective for both the students and the instructors, we will continue to use this learning module in the course each year. We plan to incorporate a communication assessment rubric providing structured feedback on communication skills, and to use the rubric for peer feedback to enhance learners’ leadership and teamwork skills. In addition, we will explore other areas within the veterinary nursing education curriculum where the flipped-classroom approach could be beneficial. For example, we plan to incorporate a similar learning module into a public health course in the fourth year of the curriculum focusing on pet safety with children.

      Conclusion Top

    The learning module resulted in the acquisition of both knowledge and skills by veterinary nursing students. Students responded positively to the flipped-classroom approach and indicated appreciation of the interactive and the relational aspects of the session. Principles from the ICAP framework and self-determination theory helped us to design and implement a new style of learning module in the curriculum that resulted in an energetic, connected learning experience that enfolded real-time practice in communication skills for learners.

    Ethical policy and institutional review board statement

    This study was approved as an exempt protocol IRB-2021–851 by the University Institutional Review Board.


    The authors thank Chad Brown, DVM, director of the Purdue University Veterinary Nursing Program for his support and encouragement of this project. They also acknowledge Sarah Tieman, MD for her advice on this article.

    Financial support and sponsorship


    Conflicts of interest

    There are no conflicts of interest.

      Appendix 1: Hazards for the Immunocompromised Objectives and Reading Assignments Student Guide Top


  • Identify medical conditions that cause compromised immune systems

  • Describe the benefits and the risks of pet ownership to an immunocompromised individual

  • Identify the characteristics of pets which pose the least amount of risk to an immunocompromised individual

  • Identify the characteristics of pets which pose the greatest degree of risk to an immunocompromised individual

  • Describe precautions that an immunocompromised pet owner can take to minimize the risks of contracting a zoonotic disease from the pet

  • Identify infection sources of zoonotic diseases other than the pet

  • Identify the zoonotic diseases that can only be contracted by animal contact

  • Understand methods that may be utilized to help make balanced decisions in regards to pet ownership for high risk individuals

  • Understand the process of reproduction in relation to occupational hazards and safety for women and men

  • Define the following terms: Carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen

  • Learn how to minimize hazards related to reproductive health

  • Discuss the legal rights of employees regarding reproductive health in the workplace

  • Define conditions that make it appropriate to transfer a pregnant employee away from specific tasks

  • Reading Assignments:

    • Complete Veterinary Practice Regulatory Compliance Manual

      • ∘ Pregnancy; pages 140- 143

    • Compendium of Veterinary Standard Precautions

      • ∘ Immunocompromised Personnel; page 1265

      • ∘ Pregnancy; pages 1265-1266

    Pre-Session Viewing:

    Watch Recording “Healthy Pets, Healthy People” by Dr. Julianne Stout

    Review the three clinical cases we will discuss in class

    Session Structure:


    Discuss 3 cases

    #1- Dr. Stout and Professor Smith will demonstrate a vet nurse/client discussion

    #2- Student volunteers to play roles of vet nurse and client

    #3- Student volunteers to play roles of vet nurse supervisor and vet nurse who is pregnant


    1. Client Mary Jones brings Buster, her 5-year-old mixed breed rescue dog, in for a routine checkup. Buster has always been healthy and has no current concerns. During the visit Mary discloses that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will start chemotherapy soon. Her oncologist told her she should talk with her vet office about her risks related to having Buster in her house. How do you frame your discussion with Mary?

    2. Clients Pat and Jordan Smith brings in Sparky, their 7-year old shorthair domestic cat for his yearly visit. They tell you they have exciting news- they will have a baby in about six months! They are so excited; they feel full of love and want to adopt a new kitten to keep Sparky company through this life transition. How do you frame your discussion with the Smiths?

    3. You are the vet nurse supervisor in a busy small animal practice. One of your employees administers the anesthesia for most surgeries and assists with most of the xrays in the office. She comes to you with the news that she just found out she is six weeks pregnant. She is worried about finances and worried about her job. How do you frame your discussion with her?

    Healthy Pets, Healthy People Notes


    Immune Compromise in Humans

    Advice for Pet Owners

    Advice for Vet Nurses

    Benefits of Owning a Pet (CDC, 2020)

    Decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels

    Decreased feelings of loneliness

    Increased exercise, outdoor activities, socialization


    Zoonotic diseases

    Animal Bites in the US

    Zoonotic Diseases in Humans

    Common possible adverse effects of animal contact

    Bite (Capnocytophagia canimorsus in dogs dangerous in immunocompromise, Pasteurella infection most common from both dogs and cats)

    • Dog

    • Cat

    • Ferret

    Infectious gastroenteritis (Campylobacter,  Salmonella More Details)- lizards and turtles

    Psittacosis and cryptococcosis- birds

    Mycobacterium marinum- fish

    US Zoonotic Disease Outbreaks


    Backyard Poultry – Salmonella Infections

    Pet Hedgehogs – Salmonella Infections

    Pet Bearded Dragons – Salmonella Muenster

    Pet Turtles – Salmonella Typhimurium


    Backyard Poultry – Salmonella Infections

    Pet Hedgehogs – Salmonella Infections

    Pet Turtles – Salmonella Oranienburg infections

    Pet Store Puppies – Campylobacter Infections

    Pig Ear Dog Treats – Multidrug-resistant Salmonella

    Basics of Staying Healthy Around Pets

    Wash your hands

    Get regular vet care for your pet (ringworm)

    Practice good pet hygiene

    Teach kids how to interact with animals

    Keep wildlife wild

    Examples of immunocompromise in humans



    Lack of spleen (past surgery or sickle cell disease)

    Treatment with immunosuppressive medications (chemotherapy, steroids, monoclonal antibody treatments)

    Specific Groups and Settings at Increased Risk

     Organ Transplant Patients

     Avoid cleaning bird and fish enclosures, or wear gloves when doing so

     Avoid cleaning out cat litter boxes

     Favor adult cats over kittens-  Bartonella henselae Scientific Name Search k (cat scratch fever)

     Feed commercial pet food

     Have dogs immunized against leptospirosis

     Avoid certain pets:

       Reptiles, including lizards, snakes, and turtles.

       Baby chicks and ducklings.

       Exotic pets, including monkeys.

    Infants and Young Children

     Supervise kids around animals

     Keep kids away while animals are eating

     Avoid certain pets for kids < 5 years of age

     Reptiles (lizards, snakes, and turtles)

     Amphibians (frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders)

     Backyard poultry, including baby chicks or ducklings

     Rodents (rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs)

    Pregnant Women

     Avoid cleaning cat litter boxes due to toxoplasmosis risk

     Ensure the litter box is cleaned daily (toxo becomes infectious 1-5 days after shed in cat feces)

     Feed commercial pet food

     Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that is shed in cat feces. If a non-immune woman becomes infected during pregnancy the infection can cause pregnancy loss or serious symptoms in the baby (loss of vision, brain damage)

    Preferred Pets for Immunocompromised/Increased Risk

    Adult Dogs and Cats, indoor

    Avoid birds, reptiles, rodents

    Reproduction–related risks to Veterinary Personnel


    Exposure to hazardous chemicals

    Exposure to anesthetic gases

    Zoonotic diseases

    Physical risks of lifting/restraining patients

    • • Females

    • • Menstrual cycle disruption

      • • Pesticides (flea dip)

      • • Organic solvents

      • • Shift work

    • • Reduction in fertility

      • • Chemotherapy drugs

      • • Radiation

      • • Nitrous oxide

    • • Males

    • • Reduction in fertility

      • • Chemotherapy drugs

      • • Radiation

      • • Nitrous oxide

    Veterinary Workplace Recommendations for Pregnant Veterinary Personnel

    Establish policies and procedures

    Encourage open communication

    Employees should seek medical advice regarding workplace hazards

    Duties may change over the course of a pregnancy

    Temporary job transfers or changes in duties may be options

    Leave of absence/FMLA

    Communicate with other employees


    Bula-Rudas, F., & Olcott, J. (2018). Human and animal bites. Pediatrics in Review, 39 (10) 490-500. DOI: 10.1542/pir.2017-0212

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Healthy pets, healthy people [Webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/index.html

    Eward, W., & Kirpensteijn, J. (2017, Oct. 2.) Should immunocompromised humans avoid pets? [Online brief]. Retrieved from https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Clinician-s-Brief-October-2017_TP-Immunocompromised-Humans.pdf

    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2020). Reproductive health and the workplace [Webpage]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/mensWorkplace.html

    Steele, R. (2008). Should immunocompromised patients have pets? The Ochsner Journal; 8:134–139.

    Veterinary Business Advisors. (2016, July 15). Pregnancy in the veterinary workplace: Safety concerns [Online article]. Retrieved from https://veterinarybusinessadvisors.com/pregnancy-in-the-veterinary-workplace-safety-concerns/

    Quiz Questions

    • 1. A client comes to your office and tells you he has had a kidney transplant and is on immunosuppressive medications. He wonders if it is OK to clean out the cage and handle his son’s pet turtle. Which of the following is the greatest risk to this patient related to the turtle?

      • A. Psittacosis lung infection

      • B. Salmonella intestinal infection

      • C. Bartonella henselae lymph node infection

      • D. Cryptococcus meningitis

    • 2. Which of the following types of bites is most common in the United States?

      • A. Cat bites

      • B. Dog bites

      • C. Human bites

      • D. Fish bites

    • 3. Which of the following bite wounds is most likely to become infected?

      • A. Cat bites

      • B. Dog bites

      • C. Human bites

      • D. Fish bites

    • 4. Which of the following veterinary nurse job expectations is the greatest risk for impacting fertility?

      • A. Mixing IV antibiotic solutions

      • B. Needlestick injury

      • C. Low back strain

      • D. Exposure to nitrous oxide anesthetic gas

    • 5. Which of the following pets would you recommend for your client who has 4 year old child?

      • A. juvenile dog

      • B. adult ferret

      • C. adult cat

      • D. juvenile hedgehog

      Appendix 2 Top

    Quotes from Student Responses (unedited)

    It was easier for me to comprehend everything with examples and role play.

    I thought this was great! I liked it being online, and the breakout rooms were a great change of pace.

    The breakout groups were fun to discuss with our peers in!

    the break out rooms were nice to practice with each other before doing it in front of everyone

    This was a good session! I would just suggest some more guidance from faculty in break out rooms

    It was a very interesting experience!

    The break out rooms were a little bit confusing as I have never done them before, but otherwise I liked it.

      References Top

    Clarke PM, Al-Alawneh J, Pitt RE, Schull DN, Coleman GT. Client perspectives on desirable attributes and skills of veterinary technologists in Australia: Considerations for curriculum design. J Vet Med Educ 2015;42:217-31.  Back to cited text no. 1
    Clarke P, Henning J, King E, Coleman G, Schull D. What makes a great clinical team? Stakeholder perspectives on the attributes of effective veterinary health care teams in Australia. Aust Vet J 2019;97:424-32.  Back to cited text no. 2
    Kinnison T, Lumbis R, Orpet H, Welsh P, Gregory S, Baillie S. Piloting interprofessional education interventions with veterinary and veterinary nursing students. J Vet Med Educ 2011;38:311-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    Varnhagen CK, Wright DL. Learning characteristics of veterinary technology students in a distance-education and an on-campus program. J Vet Med Educ 2008;35:449-55.  Back to cited text no. 4
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