It doesn’t matter what rotation you are on. You have to be prepared for any case to walk through the door.
For example, when I was on the Large Animal Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) rotation – a service that ordinarily accepts large animals with diarrhea, colics and extremely ill patients – I admitted a fit Thoroughbred colt with a hindlimb condylar fracture. It was a great experience for me, especially since I have an interest in sports medicine and radiology. However, as a student on the ECC rotation, I was prepared with differentials for equine diarrhea at a moment’s notice and not on how to interpret radiographs or on principles of fracture stabilization.
Now, while on Large Animal Medicine, I am working with a patient that is being managed by our Large Animal Reproduction group. Again, I have a strong interest in equine reproduction, and this case happens to be both practical and interesting. However, while on medicine I would have expected to take in more neurologic or eye cases. It was an unexpected case to pick up while on this rotation, and once again I found myself struggling to remember key information, like how a mare’s endocrine system changes throughout gestation.
Having this case in the hospital has helped me realize that when I am a veterinarian, I am going to have to be prepared to take in any case at any time. There will be no two-week stints where I can expect to take in only colics or diarrheas. I know it seems obvious, but the reality is that I will have to be prepared for anything!