The need for training when using animals in research is ubiquitous. Almost every topic in the Guide includes the word “training.” The AALAC FAQ page mentions “training” 13 times, including under topics as diverse as respirator use, use of invertebrate animals, and enrichment practices.
Those of us who have worked hands-on with animals know that many procedures require both considerable knowledge and skill to perform adequately. (From my own, very distant past, I remember gavage dosing of mice to be a particular challenge)! This much is obvious.
Of course, when subject to an inspection or audit, we always need to have proof that training is controlled, systematic, and documented. There also have to be processes in place to verify that training is appropriate for a protocol proposal, to alert when training expires and needs refreshment, and to oversee. This is especially important in the academic world where there is less centralization and higher turnover.
Much of this oversight burden falls on the IACUC (who may, in turn, delegate some of this to the PI via the inclusion of “affirmation”-type questions on the protocol forms). In addition to all this, there is the question of ensuring that the training provided is of an appropriate standard and provided by qualified individuals.
There are several good services available to assist with the provision of training, which can remove much of the burden of providing the actual training classes. AALAS Learning Library and CITI are the leading options here. This is a huge undertaking that has been heartily welcomed by our community, as proven by the rapid growth of these services. Almost every customer or prospect we talk to uses at least one or other of these two, sometimes both!
So, how can TOPAZ Elements assist? Our view is that with such good training content providers already in use, Elements can best be used to communicate and link rather than to manage content. Thus, the features we have concentrated on include:
- The ability for reviewers to view “pre-filtered” training data for any protocol associate from within the protocol
- The ability to search training records by protocol
- Provision of a Dashboard where users can review their own training status (or team administrators can do so for them)
- The ability to send email reminders
- Easy integration with CITI and ALL
We believe this provides good visibility to training data when it is needed, without a large data entry or setup burden.
If you’d like to learn more about the Elements Staff Training module, drop us an email via the website.