As a third year veterinary student, I was looking for a summer externship at a mixed animal practice. I wanted to work at a clinic that offered a variety of experiences, including a diversity of species and clientele, veterinarian mentorship opportunities, hands-on experience, and exposure to new areas of the veterinary profession. My experience at Abilene Animal Hospital P.A. exceeded all these expectations. I was fortunate enough to spend time with the leaders and well-respected veterinarians in a variety of fields.
Each morning I would arrive at the clinic not knowing what I might be able to do or see that day. I was really impressed with the overall variety in the caseload. Here’s only a brief summary of the activities I participated in:
- Working side-by-side small animal practitioners in general practice
- Observing orthopedic surgeries and cutting-edge post-operative therapies
- Hands-on work at swine facilities with the swine consulting team from AAHPA
- Performing castrations on colts
- Evaluating equine lameness cases
- Assisting with a calf dystocia
Regardless of where I spent my days, each and every veterinarian I spent time with took a special interest in teaching and challenging me, both academically and professionally. I learned a lot in my two weeks in Kansas about veterinary medicine and it is helping me choose my personal career path.
Abilene Kansas has a small town feel, but, by no means, is there a shortage of things to do. It offers a great place to enjoy outdoor recreation, and more. I spent time fishing, running the annual July 4th “Rocket Run” 5K, watching the July 4th fireworks show, attending a pool party, and having fun participating in small town summer festivities. The days out on the lake were very successful and I give the credit to a great local fishing guide who works at the clinic. We caught a lot of fish in three days, including two evenings of world-class hybrid striped bass angling. There are museums, a presidential library, historical tours, golfing, and who could resist stopping off the highway to see the world’s largest ball of twine (Cawker City, KS) or the most impressive public restroom in the country (Lucas, KS)?
My experiences at AAHPA gave me more than I could have hoped for in a summer veterinary externship. The doctors and staff were fantastic and since they only take one intern at a time, it created an advantage for me to have one-on-one instruction, mentoring, and the ability to get involved with each case. I came away with new perspectives— about veterinary medicine, the role I will play in its future, the global growth of the profession, and how I can best contribute. I recommend to any student, who wants a diverse experience filled with great adventure, to consider spending time with AAHPA out on the Kansas prairie.