Dr. Kate Sweetman, OVC 2016 (2015 Externship Blog Project)
Summer 2015 feels like it happened yesterday and some days decades ago. I can't believe I have been out of veterinary school for two years and did my externship three years ago. I performed my externship at Heartland Veterinary Animal Clinic located in Listowel, one hour outside of Guelph. There I received a crash course on bovine medicine as it is part of the “Dairy Belt” of Ontario, or so to speak. My background to this point of my career had been mainly small animal and equine, with the majority of my bovine exposure through veterinary school. At Heartland, with guidance and teaching, I was able to apply what I had learned in the classroom to these animals.
Since graduation I returned to my home town Windsor and practice full time at a small animal clinic that also does exotics and pocket pets. Heartland must have given me the bug to continue working with large animals and I have been working part-time for a large animal clinic doing on-call emergency work.
When looking back at my externship experience I would have to say the best time I spent there was working and shadowing their new veterinary graduates. Shadowing seasoned veterinarians who have been practicing 10, 20 and even 30 years can be great as you can ask them a million questions about cases and call upon your experience. But what do veterinarians do who have been out less than a year? This was going to be the position I would find myself in shortly in the spring of 2016. Shadowing these young veterinarians showed me how to exude confidence to clients and not be afraid to say, “I don't know, but let me look into that.” Four years of veterinary school can only teach you so much.
Even to this day, after two years of working and working with my associate (a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years) we sometimes still stop and scratch our heads. Every day is something different, new and exciting.