Friday, September 10, 2010

Fashion sense? Not a prerequisite for vet school

It wasn't until the start of my afternoon classes today that I noticed I was wearing brown socks with my grey pants and black shoes. I guess that's what I get for getting dressed in the dark this morning, and assuming that the pair of socks I grabbed would be one of my 10 black pairs and not one of my 2 brown pairs...

But minor details.

This morning started off with attending Grand Rounds at 8:30. "Rounds" are something we do in vet med (and in human med) as a sort of learning experience. On Community Practice/Surgery, for example, we have "topic rounds" for an hour every morning, 3 or 4 days a week. Our topics this week included what to talk about at puppy and kitten visits, vaccine protocols, and heartworm testing and prevention. In the afternoons, the seniors get together with the clinicians for "case rounds" where they all talk about different cases they've had in the last day or two, or give updates on continuing cases.

Grand Rounds is a little different. It's a horrible torture apparently invented for the sole purpose of scaring poor senior students to death. Each Friday, two to four seniors present a case at Grand Rounds. You can't get out of it; every senior has to do it at least once during senior year.

The three cases presented today were: (1) An old French Bulldog with heart disease and ascites (fluid in her abdomen); (2) an old Thoroughbred with epistaxis (nose bleed); and (3) an old Shih Tzu with sudden blindness in one eye (the other eye had already been blind for a long time).

At the conclusion of each student's presentation, the audience (comprised of 100-150 juniors, seniors, interns, residents, clinicians, and, at least today, the director of the VTH) can ask questions to the hapless seniors, in front of everybody, so that we all get a chance to watch awkwardly as they hem and haw and try not to appear stupid.

Sounds like great fun.

After Grand Rounds, we Community Practice students headed down to pair up on cases with seniors or other juniors. I went with a senior to an appointment for a suture removal (a dog that "ran into a car" about 3 weeks ago, got a laceration on her hock, and had several days of bandaging and debridement before they sutured up the laceration), then went along with a different senior to help teach an owner how to clip her puppy's toenails (puppy no like!). I got an opportunity to practice filling out all of the paperwork, medical records, history form, physical exam form, reminder postcard, etc. that go with every single appointment.

It's funny how tired I can get every week by Friday. I start out feeling like I'm "tired" on Monday and Tuesday, but every week ends with me thinking that I must have been feeling comparatively great and really energized earlier in the week. Part of it is having to be at school by 8 am most days (7:15 some days, 8:30 a few times). A big part of it is that we spend all morning actually doing things -- thinking and planning and managing cases, if not actually up on our feet and hiking all over the VTH. No more sitting passively in lecture all morning. And part of it is probably nerves about not knowing exactly where I'm supposed to be, or when, or what I'm supposed to be doing much of the time. I'd guess that's going to get better (and soon, I hope).

You hear a lot of current vet students say, when talking to prospective students, "You think you know what vet school's like, but you have no idea." Or they'll say to each other, "Back when I was in college, I really didn't know what I was getting into."

I feel like junior year (and, I assume, senior year) is similar to that. I've given lots of VTH tours to prospective students, and tried to explain to them how the curriculum is set up and what each year is like, but even I didn't have a good idea of what junior year would be like. It's more grueling and stressful but also more rewarding and enjoyable than I expected.

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