An veterinary internship is designed to give exposure to a wide variety of small animal specialist work in each of the disciplines that a vet can specialise in. Each distinct discipline – orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery, medicine, cardiology, anaesthesia and radiology is led by specialists in that field who act as supervisors and mentors to the interns when they are dealing with their own case load. This close and continued supervision combined with a varied and interesting case load gives great all round experience, building confidence and skills along the way.
Specialist veterinary care is a 24/7 life. Pets in hospitals and surgical centres are often looked after overnight by the interns who work a shared shift pattern. This means that your pet is being looked after by a qualified vet who is skilled and fresh and hasn’t been working all day and then expected to stay up all night, that would be a recipe for disaster. Overnight there will usually be a specialist from each discipline on call ready to assist the interns in dealing with emergency cases or hospitalised pets requiring intensive care.
In orthopaedics, interns are typically involved during surgery by acting as a scrub assistant or by taking x-rays. If they are monitoring an anaesthetic, be it for a medical or surgical procedure they will be doing so under the close guidance of one of the trained and fully qualified anaesthetists to allow the interns to gain experience to take with them in preparation for the day when they are in charge. A varied medicine and cardiology case load means that when the interns do go either into general practice or start their own specialist training program, they already have the necessary experience to diagnose and treat such cases.
Intern training programs are designed to support continued learning and development with an intensive seminar series at the start of the internship, followed up by regular tutorials and daily case discussions. Each intern is usually encouraged and supported in writing a scientific paper. Recent work by interns has been published in veterinary journal such as The Vet Record and Journal of Small Animal Practice. Prior to publication each intern presents their work at a scientific meeting – a daunting but necessary task!
If you are a pet owner and want to thank interns for the care your pet has received, most vet practices will have a standard procedure for thanking them.
NWsurgeons provide specialist veterinary knowledge and care. They have operating theatres which are positive pressure ventilated – this has a dramatic improvement on infection control. The latest monitoring and maintenance equipment in anaesthesia reduces risk to your pet and can also provide critical care in the immediate postoperative period.