I remember one of the common vet school-related memes on the internet is “they never tell you there are so many medical records to write as veterinarians.” I can’t agree more. Before clinical rotations started, I had never realized that there were so many things seemingly unrelated to medicine that we have to do. Nobody told me I had to know how to send a sample to the in-house lab, how to receive a patient, how to make out-of-state phone calls, how to use the medical record system and many other real-life things that we had never been aware of.
The four-year veterinary curriculum is fairly intense, with each semester being worth 20+ credits. However, we still can’t learn everything under such a tight schedule. We’ve always been told that placing a urinary catheter in a male dog is the easiest procedure in the veterinary world. Things do not always go in a textbook manner, however. We had a dog presented for back surgery, but when we tried to place a urinary catheter it got completely stuck. We tried multiple methods, including lubricants, muscle relaxant, and local anesthetics, but eventually took it out. It was a tough battle. Textbooks and people may tell you this procedure is simple, but they may not tell you once in a while you will get an atypical case, which could be frustrating but also a good lesson to learn.
We might not have been told that there are times when we have to suggest clients that they see their regular veterinarians instead of waiting for a couple hours in the ER. Real-life experience can beat the most classic textbook. As someone has said, “I was told and I forgot, I was involved and I learned.”