It’s finally here – for fourth year student veterinarians at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College, their fourth and clinical year marks the step from lectures and labs to a year of intensive clinical and diagnostic training.
A vital part of this training is the eight week externship at a rural veterinary practice.
Supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), students must complete an eight-week Externship Course between third and fourth year in a veterinary practice that works with food animals and/or equine, as well as companion animals.
The Externship not only provides an opportunity for student veterinarians to hone their clinical and diagnostic skills, but also to interact one-on-one with clients, refining their communication, technical and problem-solving skills while working alongside practicing veterinarians.
The Externship Course started in the mid-1980s to provide practical, real-life experience to DVM students entering their final year. More than 40 of the practices that host these students have been involved for more than 20 years – their support is critical. Not only do practicing veterinarians provide expertise and mentorship, they evaluate the students’ progress in achieving core competencies, ranging from clinical abilities to communication skills, which will be essential during their first months after graduation.
Ask the veterinarians involved in the DVM Externship and you’ll hear similar comments –they love hosting the student veterinarians, their enthusiasm and their knowledge of new research and techniques. They also remember being students themselves and how important this hands-on training was to their careers.
Ask the students themselves and they’ll tell you they can’t wait for the many opportunities the externship provides. Better yet, follow along with them on their journey.
This year we’ll be following nine student veterinarians on their externship experiences at veterinary practices across Ontario and other locales.
Their posts will provide a window into the world of student veterinarians, their passion for veterinary medicine, for companion, exotic, equine and food animals, and the many facets of veterinary care – from emergency medicine and clinical care to preventative health care and public health.
Learn more about these student veterinarians and follow their journey this summer at ovc.uoguelph.ca/externship.