Before second-year gets started, I’ve had a couple of days where I could head back home to do some shadowing at the clinic I used to work at before vet school. My mentors at this practice are worth their weight in gold and I aspire to be like them someday! I only got to spend a few days (hopefully I’ll have more time over Christmas break), but I feel like I learned so much more than ever before.
First, they let me do physical exams. On nearly every patient we had in for a routine exam, they let me practice. I got to practice using my stethoscope, auscultating both dogs and cats. I was able to listen to normal heart and lung sounds, as well as listen to a couple of animals with heart murmurs. I was also able to practice venipuncture, something I am not very good at yet. One of the amazing vet techs I worked with gave me some excellent tips for finding and hitting veins, and after her help, I started doing better.
Next, my vets started asking me questions (WAY harder questions than from before vet school started). They asked me to come up with reasons an animal might be sick, or how I thought the best way to approach a procedure might be. It was kind of scary, but it also helped me put my brain to work in a way I haven’t ever gotten to do before. I was able to piece together a lot of the information I learned during my first year of vet school and see how it could be clinically relevant.
Getting back into the clinic for a few days reminded me exactly why I want to be a vet. I enjoy the fast-paced, problem-solving environment! It is so important for me to be able to work in a clinical setting while I’m not in school because I learn so much outside of the classroom, and seeing cases helps me remember why the classroom work is important. I am so thankful to have such great mentors to help me through my journey through veterinary school!