Background: The primary purpose of this study was to understand veterinary students views on the described key surgical entrustable professional activities (EPAs) and to understand how COVID-19 restrictions have impacted their clinical skill and competence development.

Methods: Final-year veterinary students at a single institute completed a web-based survey distributed by email. The survey aimed to characterize five constructs regarding EPAs and a specific five-point Likert-Like scale was created asking explicitly worded questions for each construct.

Results: One hundred and ten students responded. The cohort agreed that the previously described key surgical EPAs were clinically important and relevant but over 50% of the respondents felt that they had no substantial experience with them and were not confident or comfortable performing them. Additionally, the majority of students (95%) felt their clinical development was negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Conclusions: The results of this study show that the key EPAs proposed, are considered important skills by the undergraduate cohort described and that experience levels when entering final-year are lacking, potentially due to reduced exposure to clinical cases, influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

Cite as

Thompson, J., MacKay, J. & Blacklock, K. 2022, 'Veterinary students’ views on surgical EPAs and the impact of COVID-19 on clinical competence development', Veterinary Record, article no: e1978. https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.1978

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Last updated: 11 August 2022
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