During the school year and the summer, I work at Cornell’s Equine and Farm Animal Hospital. It has been a great job, serving as an ideal way to connect what I learn in class to what can happen in real clinical cases. I also get to sharpen some technical skills, such as mixing together medication amounts based on how much a patient weighs (large animals get HUGE doses of medication compared to humans and smaller animals!) and continuous physical exams on all sorts of animal species. On any given day, the hospital can have goats, sheep, pigs, dairy and beef cows, horses, donkeys, and even camels as patients!
One thing that has been very enjoyable in the clinics has been working alongside the 3rd- and 4th- year students who are on their clinical rotations. They get to treat patients under the orders of our clinicians. Not only do I get to learn a ton from the students and their varied experiences, I also get to teach those of them who are “not large animal people” (as they say with a worried giggle). For some students, approaching horses and cows is quite terrifying. But no worries, that’s what I am here for! Handling large animals is one of my favorite things to teach.
These older students have so much enthusiasm and knowledge that they are willing to share. It reinforces my beliefs about mentoring the younger generations. This is what veterinary medicine is really all about for me. Not only do we teach clients about their animals, we teach and mentor each other as respectful colleagues. The competitive air that many people speak of truly disappears when you put a group of students with patients and have them complete their daily treatments in a timely fashion. The essence of teamwork shows its head, and ideas are shared in an effective way.