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This year Externship students are blogging all summer long

Hands-on opportunities are invaluable for student veterinarians. They provide students an opportunity to practice clinical skills, diagnostics and work one-on-one with clients, while refining their communication, technical and problem-solving skills.

Once again this summer DVM students from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) at the University of Guelph will be blogging and posting about their externship experiences treating cows and horses, dogs, cats and all manner of companion animals as they apply the skills they’ve studied.

Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), students must complete an eight-week Externship Course between third and fourth year in a rural veterinary practice that works with food animals and/or equine, as well as companion animals. 

“During their externships, students work shoulder-to-shoulder with veterinarians, learning about the breadth of life in a rural practice from client interactions to practice management to providing the best possible preventive, diagnostic and treatment solutions for both the animals and the owners,” says OVC Dean Elizabeth Stone.

The Externship Course started in the mid-1980s to provide practical experience to DVM students entering their final year. More than 40 of the practices that host these students have been involved for more than 20 years – their support is critical. Not only do practitioners provide their expertise, they evaluate the students’ clinical, diagnostic and communication skills covering a set list of criteria.

“We greatly appreciate the veterinary clinics that host our students during their eight-week Externship course and the time and expertise they provide in mentoring them. We know that veterinarians love to host these students because of the enthusiasm and knowledge they bring to the practice,” adds Stone.

This summer, you’ll have the opportunity to tag along with eight student veterinarian as they talk about their experiences.

The bloggers have diverse backgrounds but all share a passion for veterinary medicine, the strong animal-human bond, for animal care and welfare, for their role in public health, and the opportunity to communicate their experiences this summer.

Some are committed to food animal practice, some have particular interest in equine medicine and some plan to pursue companion animal practice.

Each will spend their summer in practices across Ontario, one in the U.S. and one in another hemisphere, in Australia.

The blogs provide an opportunity for future students, DVM students, OVC faculty, staff and alumni, government funding agencies and the community to discover what student veterinarians are learning, as well as providing an opportunity for student veterinarians to develop communication and social media skills for use in their future veterinary careers.

Meet the students on the Externship Project website and watch for their regular posts.