Expanding my experience, growing my confidence

Externship Project

Four weeks of learning here at my externship have flown by! I have seen so many cases, learned so many technical skills, experienced the victories and losses within veterinary medicine, and perhaps most importantly, have felt my confidence grow.

Mikkyla at her externship clinic

I remember my first day. I was so nervous and felt like I could not do anything right. Then as the days went by, I quickly learned from my mistakes, studied what I did not know, and became more confident in my knowledge. The best example I have is with anesthesia.

The first time I was in the role where I was getting the patient ready for surgery, putting them under general anesthetic and then monitoring their vital signs during surgery, I was very unsure and second-guessing myself. I was relying on the technician to guide me every step of the way, but I practiced more every day and by the end of my externship, I could confidently rely on my own skill set. The technician often asked me questions about what I would do next, and sheepishly I would say, “turn up the anesthetic gas”, or “give more Alfaxan (anesthetic drug)”…to which she would reply, “Good! But say it with confidence!” This is a reminder that I will bring with me to the rest of my rotations. Believe in myself, say things confidently! Even if I am incorrect, it will be an opportunity to learn! 

Bandage-wrapped dog pawI am so thankful for every blood draw I got to practice, the surgeries I got to observe and participate in, the clients I was able to interact with, every question that the veterinarians challenged me with, and of course the friendliness and support of the staff. I wish my externship was longer, but now it is time to bring my new skills to my next rotations!

(Microscope photo: I was able to take a sample of a mass with a small needle and then look at the cells under a microscope. This mass ended up being a histiocytoma, a benign growth that usually regresses on its own.)

Cells under a microscope