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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research

Top tips for getting the most out of the ‘Procedures with Care’ web resource

21 September 2015
A mouse being handled out of a tank

The ‘Procedures with Care’ website contains HD video tutorials offering step-by-step practical guidance for carrying out the administration of substances to mice and rats, emphasising the need to handle the animals with care to reduce any distress caused by the procedures.

The resource also includes a series of video tutorials on best practice for aseptic technique in rodent surgery, covering preparation of the animal, instruments and surgeon, for example. The material was developed by Newcastle University with support from the NC3Rs and IAT.

Procedures With Care assists research workers to develop their practical skills and improve both animal welfare and scientific outcomes, but maximum benefit will only arise if the resource is used to its full potential. We surveyed some of our UK contacts to find out how they use the resource. Eight of the best tips are listed below:

            1. For licensee training

Many institutions routinely use the resource as part of their licensee training courses. High resolution copies of the video files (and in the case of administration of substances, the supporting photographs and text) can be freely downloaded for use in trainer presentations and lectures in-house.

            2. As a refresher for established licensees

Established licensees can use this public resource to quickly refresh their knowledge of techniques they haven’t performed for some time. It is also useful for license holders looking for improved ways of carrying out dosing techniques.

            3. For surgical assistants

Some institutions introduce the resource to anyone who is going to assist with aseptic surgical procedures, allowing them to review, for example, how to open surgical packs and carry out suturing in an appropriate way to maintain asepsis.

            4. Before practical sessions

Often the resource is used as an introduction to prepare trainees in advance of being assessed in the manual skills needed to carry out substance administration humanely and efficiently. Practice then follows with veterinary simulators and/or cadavers, before live animals are used.

            5. Shared iPads

One institution has the Procedures With Care videos running on iPads during practical skills training within the training room, so that the detailed, visual guidance can be followed in situ.         

            6. Intranet link

A link to the resource can be displayed prominently on institutional or Biomedical Services intranet sites, sign-posted from teaching platforms such as Moodle, or added to the task bar of laptops in shared workspaces. In this way, the resource can be easily accessed by relevant staff.

            7. Poster campaign

Some institutions have conducted poster campaigns, utilising the walls of their facilities to widen awareness about Procedures With Care and its benefits. The Named Training and Competence Officer (NTCO) and Named Information Officer (NIO) can also help raise awareness about the resource.

            8. To reduce animal use

In some circumstances, use of the resource can help to reduce animal use; for example, by substituting for live animals in demonstrations of appropriate techniques to students on life science degree courses.