Hello! My name is Fatima and I am currently at the end of my final year at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies. Final year was an incredible time and looking back, there are certainly some top tips I would love to have known before I started my final year rotations.
Final year rotations are a great opportunity to finally put everything you have been learning over the last few years into practice. You will probably love finally being able to work with real life patients and clients, as well as finally working with your favourite professors in their departments.
However, for many of us this is a bit of a learning curve, and it is natural to need some time to adapt. In order to help you along or give you an insight into final year rotations, I have created a few words of advice that I would have told my fresh eyed 4th year self before I embarked on final year rotations.
- Be prepared: your professors will appreciate it if you have done some prior reading or refreshed your knowledge before starting out on your rotation. You will also be able to get the most of the practical aspects if you have the theory well covered. And don’t forget that common things are common!
- The vet nurses are your friends: learn the names of the nurses in your department for the week and don’t forget that they have a wealth of knowledge and incredible clinical skills. You can learn a lot from them and your life will be so much easier if they have your back!
- If you want to try something, ask! Don’t ever assume that you can’t attempt a basic clinical procedure or diagnostic skill because you haven’t done it before. Sometimes our mentors forget what we can do but are more than happy to help us learn if we ask.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: if you are unsure about something, don’t know where to find things, or have been given vague instructions, the vet nurses, residents and interns are always happy to help. Its likely you’ll be asked to do the same thing again at a later date so its best to learn how to do it right the first time
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions: even if the rest of your group seems to understand something and you don’t, don’t be afraid to ask. Chances are others will also benefit from a revision, and the teaching hospital is here for teaching! Your professors are more than happy to answer questions and the hospital is judgement free. Also, the same as with #4, the topic is likely to come up again!
Finally, trust yourself and the knowledge and skills you have developed over the past 3 or 4 years. You know more than you think and even mistakes or failures are great learning experiences. If there is ever a good time to make mistakes, it is now so don’t be afraid to step forward and try new things. I wish anyone going into final year the best of luck and I know you’ll smash it!