Externship at the Charlotte Humane Society
One of the more challenging aspects of preparing for your clinical year is coordinating and finding externships. Often it has to be done well in advance, and while you are finishing 7th semester and preparing to move back to the US. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what kinds of experiences that you would like to have. For me, one big goal was to gain more surgery experience, so I was fortunate to complete an externship at the Humane Society in Charlotte, NC.
During my two weeks, I worked with Dr. Stephanie Lee. Dr. Lee was an incredible teacher. I had one-on-one surgical instruction from her for two weeks. I started off slowly, spending the first day observing her surgery technique, but very quickly moved to helping with surgeries. By the start of my second week I was flying solo with Dr. Lee very close by should I need any assistance. I felt very confident in both cat and dog neuters by the end having completed 19 in total on my own. I started to gain confidence with spays as well, having completed four on my own.
My goal was to gain more surgery experience, which I definitely accomplished, but I also got practice in anesthesia (intubation and appropriate patient monitoring) in addition to routine wellness exams and vaccinations. In the second week, I also had the pleasure of working with Dr. Sharon Bailey and Dr. Lori Sanderson.This was a great opportunity to see techniques that other doctors use during their surgeries as everyone is slightly different. They were both happy to share their insight and tips as well. Overall, it was the most hands on-experience I have had in any externship, and I am so glad that I did it.
The staff and volunteers at the Charlotte Humane Society were also amazing. They were so helpful and supportive and didn’t seem to mind that having a student there slowed them down. They are dedicated to the care of the animals and work very hard. The most important thing about this experience of working in a shelter is seeing first hand that good, solid medicine can be practiced in a low cost clinic. They are definitely making a difference in the Charlotte area and helping both people and their pets. It was a great opportunity and I will always be grateful for it.