I’m almost finished with my clinical year and cannot believe I’ll be receiving my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine soon! It’s been such a long journey to get here and I can’t even believe that my clinical year is almost over. I tell all vet students that the 4th year of vet school is so much better than years 1-3. I’m 5 rotations away from graduation and have reflected on how much growth I’ve seen since starting clinics. I’m on the last week of my second small animal internal medicine rotation and I’ve realized that I’ve improved so much since I took this rotation the first time. I wanted to share some easy tips that will help you look more prepared and organized 😉
Keeping cases organized—Getting into the habit of history taking and presenting a case will not only help you work through cases more efficiently, but it will also help you seem more prepared and organized when talking to colleagues. It’s important to get a clinic notebook or some resources to help you keep track of all your patients’ history, problem list, differentials, diagnostics, treatment plans, etc.
Have confidence—Clinics are the last thing standing between you being a real doctor, making real decisions, on real patients. That being said, when presenting cases and making decisions in the clinics, be confident, and act like the doctor. A simple habit I’ve gotten into as I was in clinics longer, is to use declarative statements such as “I want to do these diagnostics” rather than saying “Can we do these diagnostics?”.
Make skeleton treatment sheets, lab forms, prescriptions—I’ve found that preparing “skeleton” documents such as treatment sheets, lab submission forms, and prescriptions before they are needed helps with my overall anxiety and efficiency. For example, if you know your patient will be staying in the hospital for multiple days, get all their treatment sheets started so all you need to do each day is update them. Or if you have a new appointment that is an evaluation for X disease, grab lab submission forms that you suspect you may need for their diagnostic workup (CBC/Chem, urinalysis, endocrine panel, GI panel, etc.). If you know your patient will be going home with medications, write up a skeleton prescription with the information you know will be certain, that way when the clinician asks you during the busiest time of the day, you’ll have it nearly ready for them and that will make your life easier and make you look prepared!
Prepare visit summaries before discharge date—There will be a lot of paperwork in clinics and the last thing you want to do is feel rushed and end up writing a very terrible discharge summary for owners. I HIGHLY recommend starting these the day the patient is admitted.