During my externship, I shadowed Dr. Wagner as he performed surgeries, had appointments with owners and pets, evaluated x-rays and test results, and performed minor procedures such as ear cleaning. I also had the opportunity to shadow the vet techs as they prepped animals for surgery, performed dentals, and cared for recovering animals.
My favorite aspect of the externship was being able to observe the daily workings of a vet hospital in an authentic way. I have been interested in veterinary medicine since I was young and it was exciting to observe what the job entails in person. The entire staff at the hospital was also very welcoming which made it an enjoyable experience.
This externship highlighted some of the key topics vets encounter and reaffirmed that I’m on the right academic path. It also showed me the importance of being well-rounded, especially in terms of being able to communicate with a diverse range of people.
This experience helped me to appreciate how important actively listening to people is and how good communication with owners is equally important to providing quality care for their pets. It also helped confirm my interest in veterinary medicine, specifically in small animal medicine. While participating in my externship, I found it rewarding to see animals receiving and responding to treatment. Although being a vet can be very challenging, it was gratifying to see animals recovering from illness and it affirmed the importance of the job. The experience was also rewarding for me because it solidified my interest in being a vet and helped excite me for a future in the field.
I would encourage others to pursue an externship to gain insight into a career they are interested in and, to prepare, I’d suggest that it is helpful to have some background knowledge of the field beforehand. My sponsor was very helpful in explaining things to me, however I, think having more prior knowledge on things like ultrasounds, anatomy, and blood work would have helped me to ask more detailed questions and gain even more from the experience. My sponsor, as well as the other doctors and vet techs at the hospital, gave me valuable advice on what to consider when choosing vet schools to apply to, such as how up-to-date the facilities are and how many years of clinical rotation they offer. I have kept this guidance in mind as I’ve prepared to apply to schools.
Written by Alexa Alessandrini ’24