I’m now halfway through my 4th year and realized there’s a lot of things I wish I would’ve got in the habit of doing more often before clinics. I took these things and tried to implement them during my externships!
#1: PALPATE EVERYTHING
A lot of our time in vet school is spent studying all the abnormals and not getting enough exposure to the normals. For example, palpating is quite challenging during clinical year because we really don’t know what normal feels like. During my externship, I did my best to try to palpate many patients, especially all the ones that were anesthetized for surgery. These patients really let you feel for different organs and even feel ones that were abnormal.
#2: OBSERVE COMMUNICATION STYLES
This has been one of my favorite things to do during clinics. Everyone has their own way of communicating with clients and soon, SO WILL YOU. You’ll see that some people are naturals and some not so much. Either way, you’ll learn things you like/dislike and things you’ll want to utilize/stay away from. I encourage you to do a lot of your own talking during externships and even asking advice from your mentors on tips/tricks.
#3: ASK FOR THE CHALLENGE
Yes, I said it. CHALLENGE. Clinical year is a challenge already so why ask for more. Well, some externships allow you to just sit back and sometimes that works as a disadvantage for you. You need to be constantly learning and problem-solving so when you’re on your own one day you’ll be ready. For example, I made sure to tell my mentors what I wanted to learn more of and what kinds of cases/surgeries I wanted to take on. For example, I told my mentors at the humane society that I wanted to do more than just spays and neuters. They gladly accepted this request and allowed me to do so much more.