The last two weeks I had a vet student working with me at the spay/neuter clinic where I work 2 days a week. When I started this job I suggested we advertise at the vet school for students who want more surgery practice to come down and work with us. Finally this summer, our first students came! The first one I didn't get to meet because she came while I was out of town and she worked only with our other doctor. But the next one got to spend time with both of us.
It was really nice to be able to give them a chance to practice and to teach them some tips and tricks that you don't pick up in school. It was also great to see the confidence and skill level improve over the two weeks. Not only did they get to practice surgeries, they were also able to induce anesthesia, place endotracheal tubes and draw blood. Overall they were super pleased with their experience and will be telling all their friends.
On the flip side, nothing has made me more thankful for my years of experience than watching them struggle through every step of every surgery. I know we were all at that same place at one point but I'm so glad those days are behind me now!
The added benefit of this is we get a chance to show the students that just because we are low cost does not mean low quality. They get to see the kinds of people that utilize our services as well as the endless supply of feral cats that need to be spayed and neutered. So it's a good way to help make peace among the low-cost non-profit places and private practices. Since I actively work in both realms I see the pros and cons and the arguments on both sides, but I also know there is not a simple answer and that everyone just needs to focus on the animals and learn to get along.
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