Marsala

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In anticipation of this application cycle, I am trying to update my veterinary experience. I sent out letters to all the local clinics, trying to get a volunteer position as an assistant (paid would have been nice, but nobody is hiring). I had an equine/small animal vet call me, and it has worked well. I also had another SA practice call me. I am trying to stay positive about it, but it is difficult. It is not a busy practice. Sometimes hours will pass with nothing. The most I have done is assisted with taking radiographs (once), otherwise I occasionally restrain patients and do laundry.

I question whether or not I should keep this one for a couple of reasons.

1) not gaining any useful experience, but I am good at laundry.
2) I am not sure that I could get a good letter of rec. The two vets that work there are both really young and really catty (I get the feeling that I am the old fart in the room at the ripe old age of 36). It is possible that I am totally off base. I get along with them ok, but I don't really talk to either of them much.

As I stand around, waiting for something to do, I go through flash cards for my classes. Sometimes I think about the writing I could be doing on my thesis, or think of research projects that I'd like to do, or something else productive. I currently have about 4500 hours of large animal research experience, 2000 as a SA tech, about 500 in lab animal care, 50 hours of animal care at a zoo, and about 500 other miscellaneous hours working on farms, petsitting, etc. I am going to be working at a wildlife rehab center this summer.

So...would it be better to suffer through it for a few more months, to "update and diversify" my experience, or would one clinic with good experience and the wildlife rehab be sufficient. I am just looking for opinions. Thanks!
 

twelvetigers

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Could they just let you know if they schedule anything neat? Or would it be asking too much for them to have to call you? If it really feels like a waste 99% of the time, then I wouldn't bother. Instead, do a bit more at the other (busier) clinic with the more agreeable vets.
 

BlacKAT33

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if you had no experience i would say stick with it because it took me about 4 months of just restraining animals until i could actually do other things. however, you have a huge list of experience already. so im not sure why you need to start so low on the totem pole. id say its not worth it
 

Willowhand

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1) not gaining any useful experience, but I am good at laundry.
Do not discount this as a useless skill!! ;)

In regards to your question, I would suggest looking around for something you would enjoy more. It looks like you already have plenty of experience to be competitive and... this is your life. Right now. Making sacrifices for a future you dream about is important, but in my opinion living a fulfilling life in the present is just as much so. If I were in your position, I would follow your instinct (which I am making a guess at from the tone of your post) and find a more productive way to spend your time.

Perhaps you should consider pursuing something unique and eye-catching and not necessarily animal-related, just whatever activity you'd really love doing. Not only might it catch the schools' attention, it will also be a lot easier to talk enthusiastically about in an interview than the wonders of the spin cycle and permanent press.
 

marycatherine

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If the equine/small animal is willing to let you have more hours, I definitely would focus there, if you think it would make for better letters and more useful experience.

But to play devil's advocate, I'd say stick at that clinic until you have a round number of hours-- so you could be able to list 50 or 100 hours at boringlaundry clinic and look even more diverse! :laugh:
 

Marsala

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I am not discounting my laundry skills. I can sort and fold at lightning speed, all the while maintaining fluffy softness.:laugh:

I appreciate the input. It's tough to decide, and I am definitely not being a whiner. I would just like to learn something that I can actually use in vet school, rather than focusing on laundry and poop scooping (which, BTW, I am also a champion at!:thumbup:) I am also killing myself with my grad program, so if I can maximize use of my time, that's what I want to do.
 

david594

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Maybe you can find an animal shelter(with a vet) than can actually utilize you? Adding some shelter experience will give you a little more exposure to what I call the small animal circle of life. Its where many of your patients will come from, and some will end up.

With a few thousand hours of SA experience, you should be able to do something beyond husbandry/laundry.

And for those who have never really worked with shelter medicine, it can be very different than your experiences in a small animal clinic. Things like upper respiratory infections and ringworm can be reasons to euthanize in a shelter, where they are more of minor inconveniences in any other setting.
 
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VeganSoprano

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Here's another element to consider: If the hospital is a for-profit business (which it probably is), it is probably technically illegal for them to use you as a "volunteer" to do chores like laundry. There was an article in the New York Times last week about the legalities of unpaid internships and a lot of the points apply to "volunteering" as an animal hospital as well. Of course everyone in a hospital will grab a mop to clean up after an accident sometimes, but you should not be doing anyone's laundry for free unless that person is family!
 

Minnerbelle

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Maybe you can find an animal shelter(with a vet) than can actually utilize you? Adding some shelter experience will give you a little more exposure to what I call the small animal circle of life. Its where many of your patients will come from, and some will end up.

With a few thousand hours of SA experience, you should be able to do something beyond husbandry/laundry.

And for those who have never really worked with shelter medicine, it can be very different than your experiences in a small animal clinic. Things like upper respiratory infections and ringworm can be reasons to euthanize in a shelter, where they are more of minor inconveniences in any other setting.
:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup: Yep, and if it's an affluent enough shelter that does FIV/FeLV testing and spay/neuter for all of their animals (and has a high enough case load), you can bet they might need help with blood draws and surgery prep! Esp if you've already had thousands of hrs of SA experience, and you show them that you're passionate and not flaky, chances are, they'll be happy to train you! Kitten season = chance to become an expert intubator/blood drawer in the tiniest patients.
 

StartingoverVet

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Here's another element to consider: If the hospital is a for-profit business (which it probably is), it is probably technically illegal for them to use you as a "volunteer" to do chores like laundry. There was an article in the New York Times last week about the legalities of unpaid internships and a lot of the points apply to "volunteering" as an animal hospital as well. Of course everyone in a hospital will grab a mop to clean up after an accident sometimes, but you should not be doing anyone's laundry for free unless that person is family!
This is a good point and something I am concerned about for the future. This is why shadowing is still ok but it is going to be hard to be a "volunteer." You basically cannot do any work for a company. In the past you couldn't do the work of a paid employee. It is an subtle but important difference.

You can still volunteer at non-profits so shelter/rescue seems the place to look!