Scrubbing in and Assisting in Surgery as a 1st Year Extern

I admit that I pursued an externship at the San Francisco SPCA for the varied caseload and experiences. I was able to see everything from routine appointments to emergencies and shelter medicine. Given that my background is primarily in shelter medicine, I wanted to gain as much exposure to the other aspects of veterinary medicine as I could. Given that I spent the majority of my time at the veterinary hospital rather than the spay & neuter clinic. I was so enveloped in the excitement of emergencies and the novelty of the cases I was seeing at the veterinary hospital that I almost didn’t want to spend time at the spay & neuter clinic. However, one day I decided to spend in the spay and neuter clinic, and it reminded me of why I entered this field and reignited my passion for veterinary medicine.

That morning I spent working with Dr. Clyons and her amazing staff of veterinary technicians. Dr. Clyons allowed me to observe surgery and even had me scrub in to assist. I realize that my experience performing surgery in Costa Rica and Nicaragua was not the most sterile or appropriate way to gain experience in veterinary medicine and surgery, but it did teach me a great deal. I believe that discussing my experience with Dr. Clyons prompted her to ask me to scrub in and ultimately assist with various things, such as surgical ligation of vessels.

Although I have observed and assisted in surgery before, I have never scrubbed in. Dr. Clyons was great at communicating with me what I was to do every step of the way. I know that scrubbing in will one day become second nature for me, but for now it is still novel and exciting!

1 thought on “Scrubbing in and Assisting in Surgery as a 1st Year Extern”

  1. Very interesting blog, I’m bookmarking you! I just graduated undergrad with my B.S. in physiology. Rejected from vet school the first time so working as a tech for the year and applying again. My IS is also Davis and I am working towards shelter medicine. I’m curious about this externship you are doing at the SF SPCA – I volunteered in the shelter medicine section last summer, working mostly with the kittens in the URI and ringworm wards, but I never got to do much with the doctors. Are you with the public or the shelter hospital there? Sounds awesome that you got to scrub in for surgery! What were the programs abroad that you did? I’m obsessed with traveling abroad, but I tend to plan my own trips rather than spend a ton on the organized trips – but this gives me less hands on experience with vets. I was able to assist with a surgery while working with a vet in Peru, but aside from that, it’s been mostly just animal and kid experience abroad. Okay, my blurb is done, but I’d love to find out more about what you have done since I have so many interests in common with you. 🙂

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