Investigating laparoscopic psychomotor skills in veterinarians and veterinary technicians

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Abstract

Objectives:

To determine the influence of age, year of graduation, and video game experience on baseline laparoscopic psychomotor skills.

Study design:

Cross-sectional.

Sample Population:

Licensed veterinarians (n = 38) and registered veterinary technicians (VTs) (n = 49).

Methods:

A laparoscopic box trainer was set up at the 2016 Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) and the 2016 Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT) conferences held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Participants volunteered to perform a single repetition of a peg transfer (PT) exercise. Participants were given a short demonstration of the PT task prior to testing. A Spearman's rank correlation (rs) was used to identify associations between baseline psychomotor skills and self-reported surgical and non-surgical experiences collected via survey. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to compare PT scores in veterinarians and VTs. A P-value of < .05 was considered significant.

Results:

The mean age of participants was 36 years (range 21-67) and the majority were female (83%). In veterinarians, PT scores were highest in the most recent graduates (P = .01, rs = 0.42), and PT scores increased with self-reported VG experience (P = .02, rs = 0.38). PT scores correlated inversely with age (P = .02, rs = −0.37). No associations were observed in VTs (P > .05). Veterinary technicians that frequently used chopsticks scored higher than those without chopstick experience (P = .04).

Conclusions:

Age and year of graduation correlated inversely, while self-reported VG experience correlated positively with laparoscopic psychomotor skills of veterinarians, when assessed on a simulator. The use of chopsticks may contribute to the acquisition of psychomotor skills in VTs.

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