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Experience from multiple clinics vs. 1 clinic?

Kota1000

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Hello!
I am currently a veterinary assistant at a veterinary clinic that I have worked various positions at. For the past two years, I have been a kennel assistant and helped with boarding animals and cleaning. Additionally, I completed a 2 week internship at the same vet clinic last summer for a pre-college technology program I was in. Currently, I am working as a veterinary assistant for the summer, which I hope to do for the next 4 summers until I get To veterinary school. I also plan on gaining experience during college at farms and NPO veterinary services through my college's pre-vet club; however, I want to focus more of gaining leadership/sociable experiences through jobs and research positions not related to veterinary medicine. Finally, my question is does it matter if the majority of my experience is at one clinic? or should I am to get a lot of experience done at other clinics as well?

Thanks!
 

MixedAnimals77

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Hello!
I am currently a veterinary assistant at a veterinary clinic that I have worked various positions at. For the past two years, I have been a kennel assistant and helped with boarding animals and cleaning. Additionally, I completed a 2 week internship at the same vet clinic last summer for a pre-college technology program I was in. Currently, I am working as a veterinary assistant for the summer, which I hope to do for the next 4 summers until I get To veterinary school. I also plan on gaining experience during college at farms and NPO veterinary services through my college's pre-vet club; however, I want to focus more of gaining leadership/sociable experiences through jobs and research positions not related to veterinary medicine. Finally, my question is does it matter if the majority of my experience is at one clinic? or should I am to get a lot of experience done at other clinics as well?

Thanks!
Overall it would be good to get experience at different clinics if you can. It doesn't have to be the majority of your hours, but it's good to experience different hospitals and how vastly different they can be even within small GP. Variety is good even if it's an ER clinic vs a GP. Lets you get exposed to a variety of vet med which I think is important especially with how much time you have until you apply. You have lots of time and I think you can diversify your experiences and accomplish everything in your list.

I will say I was a bit of a zebra and had all but ~16 hours at the same clinic but it was a rural mixed clinic and we saw and did just about everything that walked through the door or called which I think is a bit different than if I was just at one small animal GP the whole time. With that said last summer when the world wasn't ending I went to different vet practices which is useful to get to know things you like and don't like about a practice and can make finding a job that fits you when you graduate easier when you know at least a few things that will or won't work for you.
 
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battie

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I'll also mention that the next 4 years is a lot of time for plans to change too. You can plan to get leadership experience through jobs or research, but as a lot of pre-vets are learning this summer, plans can and do go off the rails. So if you have an opportunity to get good experience at an different clinic, jump on it because you cannot guarantee things happening in the future.
 
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TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

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Just jumping in to add that even experience at different GP clinics can still be beneficial. Clinics run so differently and can give you a really different view of even the same type of practice.

If my only exposure had been the first GP I was in, I am not sure I would have wanted to become a vet. GP isn't my jam in general, but tiny husband-wife clinic settings are definitely not my ideal work environment (even though I adore the owner vet I worked with).

That being said, I feel like this matters less for admissions and more-so just for personal experience down the line when you are deciding what you want from your career.

I agree that different types of veterinary experience (not just GP) are more important from an admissions standpoint.
 
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CoffeeQuestionMark

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I agree with @TheGirlWithTheFernTattoo

I have seen people get in without much variation in experiences and even some with hardly any vet experience at all.

If your grades, LORs, leadership experiences, etc are strong enough the experiences matter less cause it's just one part of an application.

That said, 100% for personal growth I recommend varied experiences. My favorite experience thus far was working 2 years for a pathologist - very valuable experience to have for vet school. I spent nearly a year working at a cat clinic in college where I served as a kennel assistant/vet assistant/receptionist and honestly feel I have learned more in the 3 weeks I've been doing ER than in that entire year.

With that second part, I believe it illustrates how important it is to find places that are willing to take the time to actually teach you vs just having you there to do the job. If you have that at your current job, that's great, but if you don't, that would be another reason to look for work elsewhere eventually
 
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ajs513

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Yes to all the things above. I got in with experience at only two clinics. Granted I had ~5,000 hours of experience and showed that I really knew about the field, and had a bunch of other experiences that weren’t veterinary hours. I have some friends at school who have almost no veterinary experience as well.

There’s no one way to get into school. I’ve heard nearly every combination of experience/lack thereof from successful applicants. The general theme, however, is that many hours in various disciplines will look best. GP, a specialty or two, large animal, one doctor practice, a huge hospital, etc. Not even just for the purposes of applying, but just to see what’s out there.

All of my experience was from small animal GP and both hospitals/clinics were 1-2 doctors. I learned a ton. I learned how to do a lot of things. It allowed me to have a much easier time understanding certain concepts than some of my classmates who had limited experience hours (it’s easy to make connections between physiology and disease processes when you’ve seen those diseases in action hundreds of times). But I wish I had done some different things. Large animal things go right over my head. When we talk about emergency medicine or certain specialties like neuro which I had no experience with before vet school, it was much more difficult to understand. But I’m a hands-on learner, so that might just be a me problem.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Diversify your hours if you can. If things happen along the way that prevent you from doing that (finding a good stable job at one hospital that pays well and you really need the money for example), then discuss that in your application. You also can’t learn everything before vet school. That’s the point of going to vet school. Just come away from it all demonstrating a solid understanding of the field including the struggles vets face, and you’ll look good. Don’t stress too much.
 
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mmmdreamerz

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Hello!
I am currently a veterinary assistant at a veterinary clinic that I have worked various positions at. For the past two years, I have been a kennel assistant and helped with boarding animals and cleaning. Additionally, I completed a 2 week internship at the same vet clinic last summer for a pre-college technology program I was in. Currently, I am working as a veterinary assistant for the summer, which I hope to do for the next 4 summers until I get To veterinary school. I also plan on gaining experience during college at farms and NPO veterinary services through my college's pre-vet club; however, I want to focus more of gaining leadership/sociable experiences through jobs and research positions not related to veterinary medicine. Finally, my question is does it matter if the majority of my experience is at one clinic? or should I am to get a lot of experience done at other clinics as well?

Thanks!

Most of my veterinary experience came from one clinic with some minor experiences in other areas. I think a lot of it depends on how you are in other areas of your application...I had significant research experience and good depth in my veterinary experience, which i think made up for my lack of significant breadth in vet experience.
 
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Kota1000

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Thank you everyone for your input! I really appreciate it. I am hoping to do a short shadowing stint for a few weeks at an ER or Internal Medicine specialty veterinary hospital by my college, and I’ve tried to get large animal experience. Unfortunately there aren’t any large animal vets by me
 
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battie

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Unfortunately there aren’t any large animal vets by me

I was originally going to spend 4 weeks at an equine facility in my home state that has free housing. You just have to pay to get yourself there and pay for your own groceries. They currently aren't taking externs right meow, but my state is opening up and more clinics are allowing in externs. So if you're interested, I can give you their info for potentially future shadowing/experience.
 

Kota1000

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I was originally going to spend 4 weeks at an equine facility in my home state that has free housing. You just have to pay to get yourself there and pay for your own groceries. They currently aren't taking externs right meow, but my state is opening up and more clinics are allowing in externs. So if you're interested, I can give you their info for potentially future shadowing/experience.

That would be great! Thank you
 

LetItSnow

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I think there is more value in getting breadth of experience - equine, large animal, zoo, research, ER, etc. versus getting more hours in SA GP. At least from an admissions perspective.

I think it's a balanced approach of both. You need some breadth but .... if you have a consistent 'story' to tell it gives some credibility to your application, especially at the interview phase.

Nothing makes me more dubious when interviewing candidates than someone saying "I want to be a surgeon" .... and they have seen exactly one spay in their experience. Or "I want to be a research vet" and they have never even so much as contacted a research vet to find out what that industry is all about.

Flip side, I am impressed by people that say "I want to be a LA vet" and they have a ton of LA experience, but have also taken the time to go get some exposure to other aspects of veterinary medicine.
 
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hachamor_persists

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I think it's a balanced approach of both. You need some breadth but .... if you have a consistent 'story' to tell it gives some credibility to your application, especially at the interview phase.

Nothing makes me more dubious when interviewing candidates than someone saying "I want to be a surgeon" .... and they have seen exactly one spay in their experience. Or "I want to be a research vet" and they have never even so much as contacted a research vet to find out what that industry is all about.

Flip side, I am impressed by people that say "I want to be a LA vet" and they have a ton of LA experience, but have also taken the time to go get some exposure to other aspects of veterinary medicine.

This might be too specific to put a finger on, but how much do you see as enough experience? how closely would you expect the candidate's experience to align with the job?

For a 'not me' example, would someone who's seen a lot of GP surgeries (dozens), but never shadowed a surgeon sound reasonable if they say they want to be a surgeon? I'm currently interested in clinician-scientist type roles. I have weeks to months of shadows or work experience in clinical settings (including some in different specialties), and at least months of benchwork experience between different labs, including with DVM PIs. Would the fact that I probably have <20 hours (I'd need to check numbers, but sounds about right) shadowing a clinician-scientist specifically be too little to provide credibility?
 

LetItSnow

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This might be too specific to put a finger on, but how much do you see as enough experience? how closely would you expect the candidate's experience to align with the job?

For a 'not me' example, would someone who's seen a lot of GP surgeries (dozens), but never shadowed a surgeon sound reasonable if they say they want to be a surgeon? I'm currently interested in clinician-scientist type roles. I have weeks to months of shadows or work experience in clinical settings (including some in different specialties), and at least months of benchwork experience between different labs, including with DVM PIs. Would the fact that I probably have <20 hours (I'd need to check numbers, but sounds about right) shadowing a clinician-scientist specifically be too little to provide credibility?

I think you're right, it's too specific to really put numbers around.

At the interview phase, it's a nebulous, subjective kind of thing (even though we try to objectively score people). When I listen to people, I want to see that their stated goal is a natural extension of their displayed experience. A trajectory kinda thing. In your example, sure, I'd be satisfied with someone who has seen dozens of GP surgeries but never shadowed a surgeon specifically. Lots of people see a bunch of surgeries and say "OMG, THIS is cool. THIS is what I want to do." That's fair. It's not like I expect an applicant to say "I want to be a surgeon, and I've already performed three lung lobectomies with only a blade-less scalpel and a dull needle driver and no suture." We're not unreasonable about it. :)

There are other ways around it, too, like being able to describe the field, or being able to describe your interest in detail. There's a difference between someone who says "Yeah, I think I'd probably like to be a surgeon. Or maybe a dermatologist. I've also thought about pathology. I'm not really sure," and someone who says "I want to be a dermatologist because X, Y, and Z."

This shouldn't be ..... over-emphasized. It's ok to not have a highly specific goal. But in that case, an applicant should at least be able to clearly articulate why they want to be a vet, even if they can't exactly say what kind of vet they want to be. Not everyone goes into vet school knowing exactly what they want to be on the other side, and that can still be ok.

For me, it's all about getting a sense that the applicant has thought it through, has a goal, and has done what they reasonably can be expected to do in order to get there. The ones I don't score very highly are the ones that just sit there and hem and haw and are like "well, I guess I've just always wanted to be a vet," and can't really point to anything specific about why, or what they want to do.
 
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that redhead

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I think it's a balanced approach of both. You need some breadth but .... if you have a consistent 'story' to tell it gives some credibility to your application, especially at the interview phase.

Nothing makes me more dubious when interviewing candidates than someone saying "I want to be a surgeon" .... and they have seen exactly one spay in their experience. Or "I want to be a research vet" and they have never even so much as contacted a research vet to find out what that industry is all about.

Flip side, I am impressed by people that say "I want to be a LA vet" and they have a ton of LA experience, but have also taken the time to go get some exposure to other aspects of veterinary medicine.

Agreed that framing your story and backing it up is important, but also (I think) applicants should have at least a little experience outside of what they think they want to do. Just not bopping around aimlessly to check the box though.
 
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