In the past three years in veterinary school, and even in the many years of school before, I studied alone. I thought that working in a team might preclude me from doing things in my own style and at my own pace. Discussing and agreeing with others could sometimes be hard and the outcome might have deviated from the type of perfectionism that I pursue. However, one thing that I have learned from clinical rotations is teamwork truly makes the dream work. And we do need help no matter how strong we are.
During equine rotation, I first realized how enjoyable it can be working as a team. We arrived at school no later than 6 every day and helped each other to finish all the 7 am treatments. As horses can be unpredictable and dangerous, we had to team up when working with them. There were three of us — one was responsible for restraining, one would do a physical exam and give medication, and the third would feed, water, and replace the foot bath. We worked in the same pattern for each of our patients, which was so efficient that we were able to finish treatments and write SOAPs by 8 am before morning rounds.
The same thing happens in small animal surgery rotation, which I am currently on. The first half of this rotation was orthopedic surgery and I had the luck to take care of two IVDD (intervertebral disc disease) patients. The care for neurological patients is extensive – assessment of motor function and reflexes, expression of urinary bladder (which also means cleaning their body multiple times a day to prevent urine scald), and a considerable amount of time spent on daily rehabilitation. I am grateful to my teammates for their assistance and generous support. They are my teachers as well because what I know is limited and doing all the things by myself without constructive suggestions from others may not be in the patient’s best interest.