For the past few weeks, I have been completing my practicum placement with the Community Veterinary Outreach Clinics, primarily located in Ottawa. The Community Veterinary Outreach is a non-profit group that offers veterinary care to pets of individuals that are considered homeless, or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. For my project, it mainly consists of completing a quantitative analysis of electronic medical records and client referral data for two purposes; the first being the ability to characterize the study population with demographic information, and secondly to identify factors for animal health outcomes. Most of my work so far has been dealing with completing a literature review, screening of articles that are the most significant, analysis, report writing and also working with STATA for the data collected. Another aspect of my practicum is that I am also working alongside researchers with Carlton University for a photovoice project that aims to understand companion animals and their impact on the health of vulnerably housed individuals in Ottawa.
An interesting experience so far in contrast to the rest of my classmates who are completing their practicums as well, is that I get the chance to work from the comfort of my home and make my own time schedule. Since I work alongside my research team who are primarily comprised of veterinary’s in Ottawa, it is a little new to me as most of my research during university was focused on human participants. With the help of my research team and supervisor, they have been there for me every step of the way. As I am not able to speak with them in-person directly, we have weekly meetings between my supervisor and myself where communication is done through phone calls or video calls. As well, usually at the end of the month, we’ll have conference calls between all members of the research team located from numerous places such as: Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto, and Guelph. But before my practicum even began, I had the chance to meet up with one of my fellow team members who was eager to meet me, answer any of my questions for the upcoming months and most importantly make sure that I felt welcomed to the team. From then on, I couldn’t wait to start my practicum.
In July, there will be clinics that I plan on attending to gain valuable experience, and to assist with all aspects of the research setting. Another interesting fact about my placement that I am looking forward to the most is I will be heading to Ottawa for 2-3 weeks near the end of my placement. This will also provide me the chance to work directly with the research team in Ottawa; as well as add valuable skills to my work experience. So far it has been a great learning experience, both individually and as a team. I am looking forward to the rest of my time and experiences with the Veterinary Community Outreach.