The large animal reproduction rotation has a great reputation. Pretty much every fourth-year student I’ve talked to who has had the opportunity to spend some time at the Hofmann Center for Reproduction at the University of Pennsylvania agrees that it is one of the most hands-on and informative rotations. Though it comes with some early days and long hours (but what rotation doesn’t, really?), most students feel as though the time spent on reproduction is extremely worthwhile. Through the program that I have been a part of this summer, I was able to experience first-hand what the rotation is like.
During the first week of the rotation, students are given the opportunity to perform rectal palpation on mares from the school’s teaching herd to better hone their palpation skills. Every morning from 7 to 8 am, I did just that. Even in only a week’s time, I saw my own skills improve. By the end of the first week, I was already able to identify different parts of the mare’s reproductive tract with relative ease!
The second week, after getting comfortable with palpation and a few labs to get us students better acquainted with imaging and the reproductive cycle of mares, we were able to begin examining the reproductive tracts with ultrasonography per rectum. To me, the ability to visually assess what I thought I had been feeling for the past week was an excellent learning tool and really solidified my understanding of a topic that just two weeks ago I was essentially in the dark about.
Between the informative labs each day to the knowledge gained from the friendly clinicians, I can say for a fact that the reproduction rotation is one of the best ones I have had the pleasure of joining in my two summers here at New Bolton Center!