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.
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!
I 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.)