Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Externship

I never really did do a post about my externship @ {OVC}. It's so hard to want to write things when you have no photos to go along with the post! Anywho, for all those that may consider doing an externship, here's the down-low from my point of view:

What is an externship?: Externships are work experience placements often undertaken at facilities other than one's own. For example, I attend the {RVC} but did my externship at the OVC.

How does this differ from an internship?: Internships are usually of a longer duration than an externship, and an intern is often given academic credit (and often gets paid too!). Internships are often required prior to starting a residency, but there are exceptions to the rule.

Why do an externship?: I completed my externship because my school requires that I do a certain number of weeks of placements external to the RVC. Externships are also a good idea if you are considering doing an internship or a residency at a place other than where you currently attend school. 

Where can I do an externship?: Externships aren't offered everywhere, however, veterinary externships are most commonly offered by public practices, such as vet schools, and can be offered by private practices too (usually the larger referral practices)! Practices that offer externships and internships often have a section on their website devoted to that, otherwise, if there's a practice you have in mind, don't hesitate to contact them and ask!

Anywho, my time at the OVC was brief (just 3 weeks), and it was over Easter (one less day of consultations). My first two weeks were in the emergency and critical care department and my last week was in internal medicine. I think that emergency medicine and critical care is a very important department, as they receive the cases out of hours. I thought it would be important to get as many emerg skills as possible as a student, that way, when you are the only vet on call in the middle of the night, you'll have some idea of what to do, and hopefully will remain calm throughout the experience. Internal medicine is one of my favourites -- I'd choose that over surgery if I had to choose! It requires the clinician to constantly think... and I feel that as a vet in general practice, those are the situations that I would attempt to deal with for a while on my own, rather than refer right away (as one might if they knew their animal required some complicated surgery). 

Although it took a while to get used to where things were, and how they did things at the OVC, it was a good learning experience and the people were super helpful and nice!! It's definitely something I'd recommend if you are looking for an externship at another vet school.

One of the student's dogs. She brought her in on my last day. Such a cutie!

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