A few weeks ago I was on my soft tissue surgery rotation. It was only my second rotation in the hospital due to time off in the beginning, so I was pretty nervous, but thanks to great rotation-mates and clinicians, I had learned a lot and enjoyed my two weeks on the service.
One piece of advice that we received from our resident genuinely resonated with me. She told us to use our time in vet school to practice being the doctor as much as we can because we can make mistakes and we will have someone to watch out for us. Once we graduate, we don’t get that. That was something that stuck with me the most, and I’m taking it to heart with these last few months in school. I’ve been working hard to take a good history, and ask the right questions. I attempt to make a diagnostic plan and justify my reasons as to why. I’ve been practicing prescribing medications, as well as writing home care orders. It’s hard at this point to think of myself as the doctor, partly because I’m not quite there yet, but it’s been a long time coming, and I just can’t believe this journey is coming to an end soon.
We put so much energy and work into getting into vet school. Then, even more energy and work go into getting through vet school. For me, it feels like I almost forgot what the end result was going to be—I’m going to be the one in charge and the one that clients are looking to for answers and advice guidance. I’ve learned a lot about myself so far during my clinical year, and one thing I’ve discovered is that I’m confident that I can be that person for my future clients. I still have a lot to learn, and with this profession, learning is something that never stops, but I can finally envision myself with that white coat. I can finally see myself as the doctor.
To all my fellow vet students, no matter where you are in your schooling, I want you to have the same advice that I did. Use your clinical year to practice being the doctor. Make your mistakes in a safe space where someone has your back, and learn from those mistakes.