Hi again! If you haven’t read any of my posts before, I’m Ryan and I am a GEP student in my first year. If you are a prospective student worried about the EMS requirements and wondering how it’s possible to get them all done during COVID, I’m here to help and share my experience!
Because of COVID, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons is allowing our graduating class to complete six weeks in person with one week each dedicated to dairy cattle, dogs and cats, horses, and lambing, and two “free choice” weeks. On top of that, we need to complete the rest of the 12 weeks through an online program for the other species we don’t get hands-on experience with. So if we have extra time we can do 12 weeks in person, and not have to do any online portions.
This was very helpful because in a normal year, GEPs have to use every single vacation week in order to complete the 12 weeks on time, so this way we can do the 6 as a minimum and if we can’t find any other placements, complete the online requirements throughout the year or in the beginning of summer. (Throughout the school year we get 7 weeks of breaks, so if you want to you can use all 7 of those weeks towards EMS and be done in COVID times with the minimum in person requirements).
Regarding finding EMS placements, the school has an amazing database located on a computer in the library that has reviews around the world of all past placements from previous and upper year students. This was especially helpful when finding a lambing placement because I knew I wanted to go to Wales for lambing and there were over 50 reviews that I could choose from. My strategy was to look with a friend, and we both started by emailing two placements each and seeing if they responded. In that case, they either were not taking students during our Easter break or did not respond. But our second round of emailing two more each was successful and we found a placement that needed us!
For my dog and cat placement, I wanted to be able to complete some EMS requirements while home for Christmas in the US, so I emailed a bunch of rescues and shelters that are near my parents’ house and had the minimum requirement of animals. This took a bit more effort due to the fact that I am across the globe and do not have a phone plan that allows international calling, so emailing was my only option of communication. Luckily, after a month or so of emailing placements, one got back to me and was able to accommodate me for this Christmas break.
I highly recommend starting to look for placements a couple months in advance just in case it’s a particularly hard year to find places, and also to get the paperwork in on time for the school.
Hope this was helpful in getting started with EMS during COVID, and see you next time!