On Hosting Students
Our history of hosting students pre-dates ARV, fact is, we've not had our first ARV students yet, but I can attest to the value for us and for the student. We have had students from at least 5 veterinary colleges in the past 10 years most for 2 weeks, some as little as ½ day, some as long as 4 weeks. I think 2 weeks is ideal. The good student is a joy to have around, but there is a certain anxiety level with hosting students that make long visits a burden. Students, I think, benefit most by visiting lots of practices for short terms. We tell them: If time permits we would like to have you visit the practices of some of our nearby colleagues. We have a good relationship with other veterinarians in the panhandle and feel that students are served best when they can compare differences in practices (facilities, philosophies, practice specialties and personalities) even when they are very close geographically. We have an apartment in our clinic that the students stay in. While they eat some meals in our homes this degree of separation makes everyone a bit more relaxed, if the visit is longer than a day or two. 3rd year and beyond students can be expected to do more—but we have them do little unsupervised. They love the opportunity to do surgery. So if they come during calving they typically get to help with c-sections: open 1, deliver 1 and suture uterus, close 1---and do one start-to-finish with the dvm serving as tech. (their speed (lack of) is such that we feel a medical need to hurry the procedure with some. Most are so green that you can see great increase in confidence and ability in only 4 procedures. We often let them do sub surgeries on pounds dogs and cats, and if they have the skills we can easily find rural clients with barn cats and porch dogs to do surgery at reduced fees. Surgery is surgery and most need the practice.
In both SA and LA cases medicine gives the student a chance to shine---they can teach us (me) about taking history and physicals, they enjoy the opportunity to consult with clients (and clients respond very well to the students). Most have done very little lab work, so benefit working with our techs on routine things like blood draws, chemistries, reading slides and taking and viewing radiographs.
NECROPSIES (where too many of my medicine cases end up)
Another area where students can shine. They are thorough, though slow but can be of great assistance and great resource.
All students that are with us more than 1 week get a chance to look at our books and graphs and know what it would take to buy into our clinic and facility. They have a rough idea of what a salary package from us might look like, and better understand what Rural Mixed Animal Practice can be. This was Greek to them a few years ago, but some of the more recent ones are curious, knowledgeable, and even a resource (as in AVMA bench marking tools)
VALUE TO STUDENTS:
The students are very appreciative of the opportunity to get hands on, get dirty, and get real. Sadly, there seems to be too little opportunity for them to do that at school. The joy is to see former students at state, regional, or national meetings and have them search you out to visit about what they are now doing.
VALUE TO US:
Altruistically, it fills a need to nurture. We love our profession and the opportunity to encourage those that are following our footsteps. We belong to our regional, state, and national veterinary associations, and we mentor students---because we owe it to the profession and it’s the price we pay so that we all might benefit. Practically, the students are very proficient at web search, computer programs, and know what current University philosophies are on surgical procedures and medical protocols. We need that. Long term, as we have the need to recruit we have a network of graduates from various colleges and years who will be looking for work, or know classmates looking for work, that may be a good fit.
Philosophically, it is refreshing to be around the protégé’s when they: 1. accomplish something for the very first time 2. express the joy over simple pleasures that once thrilled us (more than they do now), i.e. live babies from a c-section, an orthopedic procedure that goes just right, or a client telling an old joke that we’ve heard a million times—like the bloat hose joke or the cat scan joke 3. are able to teach an old dog a new trick and put to use some of their “new ideas” in our practice.
Having students is worth much more than it costs. And that spells VALUE.