The first step on the ladder

the first step on the ladder

Interns are recently or newly qualified vets on the first step on the ladder to becoming a veterinary specialist. So even after 5 years of learning and study at university, these guys have an appetite for more. The veterinary profession is a great example of the fact that we never stop learning. From graduating as a vet to achieving specialist status takes on average a further 5-7 years.

An internship at Northwest Surgeons is designed to give exposure to a wide variety of small animal specialist work in each of the disciplines we offer. Each discipline – orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery, medicine, cardiology, anaesthesia and radiology is led by specialists who act as supervisors to the interns when they are dealing with cases. This close supervision combined with our case load gives great experience, building confidence along the way.

Specialist veterinary care is a 24/7 life. Pets in our hospital are looked after overnight by the interns who work a shift pattern. This means that your pet is being looked after by a qualified vet who is fresh and hasn’t been working all day and then expected to stay up all night. Overnight there is a specialist from each discipline on call ready to assist the interns in dealing with emergency cases or hospitalized 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 our anaesthetists to allow the interns to gain experience to take with them in preparation for the day when they are in charge. Our varied medicine and cardiology caseload means that when the interns do go either into general practice or start specialist training, they already have the necessary experience to diagnose and treat such cases.

Our intern training program is designed to support learning with an intensive seminar series at the start of the internship, followed up by regular tutorials and daily case discussions. Each intern is 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 would like to apply to be an intern at Northwest Surgeons, please see this link. If you are a pet owner and want to thank our interns for the care your pet has received, you can fill out our comment, compliment, complain form here.

This blog was written by Matthew Gurney. Matt is Team Leader for Internal Services at Northwest Surgeons and supervises the internship program.