My Preceptorship at Case Veterinary Hospital
by Natalie Craven DVM
After visiting Savannah, GA, in the summer of 2012, I fell in love with the city. The food was delicious, the history was fascinating, the scenery was amazing, and the locals were so very kind. So I set out to do a preceptorship in Savannah. A preceptorship is a 2-month internship that Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine requires prior to graduation from Veterinary School. After reading about the rich family history behind Case Veterinary Hospital, I emailed Lisa Yackel (practice manager) to inquire about opportunities within their practice. Lisa responded expressing interest, and eventually I was accepted as a preceptor to begin in March.
I started work on March 11, 2013. I was given a tour of the facility, learned of the expansions they had undertaken throughout the previous years, as well as the new lobby renovations. I also learned more Case family history. Then the real work began. Initially working in the treatment room, I assisted with annual examinations, observed/assisted with surgeries, and read cytologies (microscope slides looking for parasites and bacteria). However as the weeks passed and I became more comfortable, I saw clients in rooms and performed basic surgeries (spays, neuters, declaws). During this time, I was able to work closely with the veterinary staff. I learned so much from each of the doctors including client communication, patient care, anesthesia, surgical tips/skills, and local Georgia regulations.
A typical day often began with me arriving at the clinic around 8:30 a.m. and initially working in the back (prep room). Then, a patient would be dropped off for an annual examination. The patient would be brought to me so I could perform a physical examination (looking at eyes, mouth, body condition score/weight, listen to heart and lungs, feel the abdomen, feel the muscles and bones, etc.). Once I deemed the patient healthy, I would provide the appropriate vaccines and call the owner with any noted health concerns and work out the best treatment plan. Some of the cases I managed included dogs with allergic dermatitis (skin problems due to environmental or food allergies), a dog with heart problems (arrhythmias â€“ abnormal heart beats), and a dog with diabetes. So many wonderful petsâ€”each pet presenting its own challenges, from medication options to the best diagnostic choicesâ€”all helping to keep the job interesting. The morning cases were often followed by a couple of surgeries including spays/neuters that would be performed with doctor assistance/supervision and a technician monitoring vitals while under anesthesia. After surgery, I would monitor the patient to ensure they awoke from surgery without complications. Then, in the afternoon, I would help out with appointments by working with dogs and cats in the examination rooms, and talking with clients. The day would end with ensuring all the patientsâ€™ files were in order and all the animals had their appropriate treatments before leaving for the day.
During my preceptorship, I learned about the importance of client communication, how to perform laser and laprosopic surgery, and how to read ultrasound images that will help me when I get out into practice. Furthermore, the staff was so welcoming, treating me like family and making me feel at home. I will miss them greatly and will always recommend externships/preceptorships at Case Veterinary Hospital.