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Students at Ontario Veterinary College will be blogging about their experiences in their externships starting on May 21.
Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) has started a new social media project where five of their DVM students will blog about their experiences in their externships. The externship is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Northern Development in partnership with the Northern Producers Animal Health Network.
"The Externship Course is a critical part of the student veterinarian's training," said Dr. Elizabeth Stone, the dean of Ontario Veterinary College. "The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs recognize that this hands-on training with both food animals and companion animals is vital to DVM students. Not only do they have an opportunity to apply the skills they've learned, they'll do so both in a clinical setting and on farms, allowing them to practice their diagnostic and problem-solving abilities in a real-world setting."
Some quick facts about the OVC externship:
- 120 OVC DVM students must complete an eight-week Externship Course between third and fourth year in a mixed (companion and food animal or companion and equine) practice.
- More than 40 of the veterinary practices that host these students have been involved for more than 20 years. Not only do practitioners provide their expertise, they evaluate the students' clinical, diagnostic and communication skills covering a set list of criteria.
In their press release, the OVC wrote, "The bloggers have diverse backgrounds: some plan to pursue companion animal medicine, some food animal practice, but all share a passion for veterinary medicine, for animal care and welfare, for their role in public health, and the opportunity to communicate their experiences this summer."
The banner for the Externship Project on the OVC website.
According to the OVC website, the participating students are: Chelsea Allan and Lindsay Oxby, who studying food animal practice; Jodi Boyd and Michael Brown, who plan to pursue companion animal practice; and Jeremy Shaba, who is studying equine medicine.
"Each will spend their summer in practices across the province and, in one case, across the Atlantic in Northern Ireland," according to the Ontario Veterinary College.
This is the first time the externship has had a social media component. "While externships have been part of the curriculum for DVM students at the Ontario Veterinary College for over 30 years, this is the first time launch for the Externship Blog Project," Stone said. "Social media has become more and more important in sharing information with our students. At OVC we really want to foster a sense of community on our social networks. Giving the students the opportunity to have a leadership voice in our online community is so important."
The participating students are excited to showcase their experiences, too. "Originally we set up the project to be one post per week so that it would not take away from their clinical learning," Stone said. "Now that they have started, most have asked if they can send in several posts per week. They plan to write, share photos from surgeries and check-ups as well as video submissions."
The course helps students transition from the academic environment to the hands-on world of veterinary medicine, according to Dr. John Tait, who coordinates the DVM Externship Course. "It gives them an opportunity to be part of a team providing animal care to the public, to apply the skills they've learned, refine their communication, technical and problem-solving skills and experience an extended realistic job preview," he said.
The project started on May 12, and will run to July 17. May 21 marked the day the first blog was posted.
Learn more about the project by going to the Ontario Veterinary College website here.
Learn more about the Ontario Veterinary College Externship Course here.
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