Pacific Vetcare vets Allan Hudson, left, and David Johnson with Finnish student Arja Pontinen.
Pacific Vetcare vets Allan Hudson, left, and David Johnson with Finnish student Arja Pontinen.

Interns get best on-job training

PACIFIC Vetcare is accustomed to being thanked for its care of local animals but being voted winner of Sydney University’s Educational Partner of the Year for its care of veterinary interns, as voted by the interns, was a real surprise.

It is, however, something vets David Johnson, Allan Hudson and Stephen Deist are very happy to accept.

“This recognition by the students themselves is really lovely,” Dr Johnson said.

“We have been part of the university’s affiliated teaching program for the last six years and we have about eight students a year.

“It’s great having that youthful energy in the surgery plus it means we have access to the latest information from their lecturers.”

The students come for a month and find themselves immediately thrown into the whirl of daily vet rounds and demands.

“We try to include them as part of the team and by the end of their time here they are very useful, taking on their own cases and writing reports,” Dr Hudson said.

“It keeps us on our toes because they are straight from uni and ask some very detailed questions.”

He said the students also did presentations while they were in residence and were assessed for their communication skills.

Currently the practice is hosting Finnish vet student Arja Pontinen, who has returned to Coffs Harbour to further her studies.

“Working here gives me hands-on opportunity to do things plus I can ask a lot of questions, which are always happily answered,” Ms Pontinen said.

“I’m always happy to come to work because although I am not paid I know I am gaining knowledge about things I will need in the future.”

Dr Johnson said one of the reasons the Coffs Harbour practice was popular with students was because they knew they would be exposed to many different procedures and situations.

“In the city many problems are referred to specialists but here we do most things ourselves plus we also have the horse surgery and ultrasound ... something most city practices would not have.”



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