One of the many areas in which the second year curriculum trumps that of first year is that students finally have official rotations in the hospital. On select Wednesdays, we have the opportunity to shadow fourth-year students, technicians, and vets in the small and large animal hospitals for either four- or eight-hour shifts. My first rotation was in the anesthesia service. Things were not so busy early in the morning, but I was able to sit through morning rounds as the fourth-years discussed their cases that week. I quietly listened and jotted down names of drugs to look up after my shift ended. I really look up to the fourth-year students a lot, but it’s hard to fathom that in two year’s time I am expected to be in their shoes.
After rounds, my classmates and I practiced placing catheters on a fake leg. We then observed a laser ablation procedure for a dog’s ectopic ureter. I was extremely impressed by the vet’s dexterity and precision in operating the endoscope. Oddly enough, watching the big screen show the laser removing tissue between the ureter and urethra was reminiscent to watching a kid play a video game. Hand-eye coordination and gentle movements were a must.
This procedure was not even the most entertaining part of the shift. I got to see a horse be sedated and then go to a room for induction of anesthesia. It took seven people to apply pressure to the horse to make sure it fell safely to the floor before it was hoisted into the air by its limbs and transported upside-down onto a gurney and wheeled into the operating room. As all of this was unfolding before my eyes, I noticed a person walking a Beagle through the corridor. The juxtaposition was hilarious. As a vet, you may have no idea what animals will walk through the door (perhaps a 2,000-lb horse or a 20-lb beagle). I suppose that is part of the fun!