We are often taught that being confident is one of the most important skills for us as doctors. When dealing with cases, we need to be the boss of the case because no one else can be there and help you every time. As veterinary students, clinical rotations are just like confidence boosters in that we are placed in a real-world situation and we get to practice every day, which allows us to re-evaluate and expand our knowledge base. To me, the clinical year is the most challenging yet rewarding year during the veterinary curriculum.
The first dose of confidence booster in my clinical year was the small animal emergency rotation. As it was my very first rotation, I am glad that I was able to become familiar with the hospital workflow and ICU protocol as soon as possible. It’s comforting to have the critical patients stabilized and transferred to other services smoothly the next morning. It’s enormously encouraging to have clients saying that you’ve done a great job taking care of their babies. It’s tough but makes you more skillful at communication when explaining to a client that we need to prioritize critical patients and may have to have them wait for a while.
The second dose of my confidence booster was the equine rotation. I was scared to death when it came to horses or any sort of “large” animals other than cats and dogs. However, after this one-month rotation working with horse fan classmates and gaining more insight into equine medicine, I became more open-minded to working with species other than cats and dogs. If I only learned one thing during this rotation, that would be to step out of my comfort zone and discover the beauty and wisdom of various fields in veterinary medicine.
In the clinic, we are “graded” by what we think, what we say and what we do rather than just by what we write on an exam sheet. The more we practice, the more well-rounded and confident we become and the closer we are to being a real doctor.