As part of our clinical orientation course, my class served as guinea pigs for having an ICU shift added in as part of our course grade. Friday night from 6 to 9, I was supposed to show up and complete certain tasks such as feed or administer medication or check temperature, pulse and respiration on a patient, etc. When I arrived, it was quiet and there were a couple of patients who had been there for a while. They would need food and meds, and the dogs needed walks, but other than that not much else was going on.
I don’t know how superstitious any of you are, but I know that in medicine anytime we say it’s going to be a slow night, it won’t be. Well, someone made the fateful error of saying, “It’s slow in here, eh?” and all of us knocking on wood did nothing to stop the four emergencies that rolled in. One was a fox that had been hit by car, so a couple of students left to go check that out, but unfortunately the fox was already dead when they arrived. Two cases were suspected spinal injuries, and one was a dog with possible pneumonia. Things certainly got busier! I has the opportunity to help assess the pneumonia case and check a couple more tasks off my list. While the fourth-years and ICU doctors took care of the emergencies, I worked with a third year who had started her shift taking care of the other patients for the evening, monitoring vitals and making sure everyone had clean bedding and had been fed. One cat needed to be tube fed, so I was also able to help with that.
It was awesome to be able to get involved in the school’s clinic. When we’re so bogged down with classwork, it’s really nice to see live animals and apply what we’re learning upstairs in the classrooms. Having some knowledge of how the ICU runs will also come in handy when fourth year comes around. Just another exciting night in the life of a vet student!