RUSVM Communications sat down with Ms. Trish Scaife, Clinical Affairs Coordinator to find out a little more about what “really” happens in Clinical Affairs.
RUSVM COMS: How does the Clinical Affairs Team assist students and colleagues at RUSVM?
Each semester Dr. Juan Samper, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Professional Opportunities, talks to the students from the pre-clinical semesters about what to expect and how to prepare for their Clinical Year. In addition to this, he meets with each of the 6th semester students to discuss their options for clinical year as well as to find out what are key issues that the students want him to consider for their placement. Having visited each of the affiliates himself and talked to many of the RUSVM students there, Dr. Samper has a wealth of knowledge on each of the clinical affiliates which he is happy to share with students. This allows students to choose a group of affiliates that would be a good match for them. Prior to the meeting with Dr. Samper, students often request a meeting with me so they can discuss their initial thoughts on their placement.
After the Clinical Placement Ceremony, where students find out, for the first time, which clinical affiliate they will be going to, I meet with students who have questions about their new affiliate, in terms of accommodation, visas etc. Finally, when students leave the island to begin their clinical year, Dr. Samper stays in contact by sending out a bi-weekly email, Clinical Corner, with updates from campus. In the weekly email, we share any good news that the clinical year students have, in terms of awards and achievements.
RUSVM COMS: Why did your department decide to begin holding the Clinical Placement Ceremony?
The Clinical Placement [Ceremony] was introduced by Dr. Samper in May 2015. Prior to this students received their placement assignment by email, possibly home alone without friends or family around to celebrate. Dr. Samper understood the importance, and determined that it would be a good opportunity for students to support each other and celebrate the news together, with their friends and family, so he introduced the Clinical Placement Ceremony. It also provides students the opportunity to see which of their fellow RUSVM students they will be attending clinics with. Since May 2015, the ceremony has been growing in strength and popularity. With the introduction of live video streaming of this event this semester, we are happy to report that over 318 people attended the ceremony on campus and another 850 people streamed this event live.
RUSVM COMS: We understand there are brand-new affiliate sites that students can now attend for their clinical year. Tell us a little about them.
Yes, we are very excited to have recently signed two new clinical affiliates, the Royal Veterinary (RVC) College in London and Massey University in New Zealand. The RVC, part of the University of London, has been ranked as one of the top three veterinary schools in the world, and the highest ranked outside North America, according to the 2016 QS World University Rankings.  “Students at the RVC will experience our fully accredited clinical training program at one of the largest referral hospitals in the world,” said Professor David Church, Vice Principal for Learning and Student Experience at the RVC. “We are enormously proud of the education we offer.”
In February 2016, Dr. Samper visited Massey University and was impressed by the program and facilities on campus.
RUSVM COMS: Every department does some work “behind the scenes.” What’s one thing you do for the campus that not many students or colleagues are aware of?
It is interesting that you ask that because last semester it was announced that Dr. Samper’s role as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs was to include the words “and Professional Opportunities” in the title. What this essentially means is that the Clinical Affairs (CA) team has been assigned the task of identifying, posting, recruiting for and assisting students in obtaining jobs as they prepare to graduate from RUSVM. Our goal is to assist our students in identifying and securing employment with significant compensation post-graduation. By being able to identify these job opportunities and share them with our students, we hope to become a resource for students to utilize after graduation.
Another part of this new role is to network with potential employers to encourage them to post these jobs with RUSVM. Last semester, RUSVM produced a brochure titled, “Tap into Extraordinary Talent,” which showcases our RUSVM graduates and explains to employers what is unique about RUSVM students.
RUSVM COMS: What is the one thing you’d like students to know as they begin their clinical year?
I would like to take a quote from Dr. Samper’s speech at the Clinical Placement Ceremony to answer this final question. “There is no doubt in my mind that you are as well prepared as the best, to enter your clinical year. You are going to an accredited school from an accredited school. What you might not realize now, but I am sure you will soon, is that life in St. Kitts has given you a set of life tools that are impossible to acquire or buy anywhere else. Work ethic, adaptability, resilience and exposure to diversity will serve you well as graduates entering the workforce. “
I want to wish you all the best of luck in your clinical year and remember Dr. Samper and myself are always here if you need to talk.