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Upon hearing about the Whyalla opportunity and reading other student’s experiences, I was extremely excited about the prospect of coming to Whyalla but always had in the back of my mind whether it was too good to be true. A chance to ‘be the vet’ gaining real practical experiences (rather than just observe) What was the catch? Having now completed three weeks here, I’m happy to say it lived up to my hopes and there was no catch (other than be prepared to be challenged and exhausted!); it’s been a great experience.
From the first day I arrived, I felt like a vet (albeit still in training) not a 'mere student’. I was responsible for my surgeries including: premed, induction agents, pain relief, antibiotics (and doses!) and anaesthetic monitoring etc. In my time here I gained more surgical experience than I ever had previously, conducting many castrations / speys (including cat flank speys!), lump removals, dew claw removals, teeth extractions, hernia repair, wound stitch ups etc. I also actively took part each day in many consults, gaining valuable practical experience in both diagnostic work-ups (clinical exams, skin scrapes, ear smears, blood smears, cytological evaluation etc) and treatment regimes, especially of the more common conditions. It was also great working in a rural town, where there is limited access to/reliance on referral services, giving me a greater appreciation of what can be done ‘in-house’ in such circumstances.
I was very impressed with the energy and enthusiasm Andrew brings to his work, and only hope I can maintain a similar level deep into my career! Not many could commit to weekly Roxby Downs visits (involving 14+ hour days at the clinic, not to mention little sleep the night before or after due to driving 3+ hours to get there!). Andrew has done this for more than 10 (15?) years and as the only vet to service the town, I’m sure has made a huge difference to the wellbeing of Roxby Downs’ animals. He is also the driver behind a very successful RSPCA re-homing program, enabling numerous dogs and cats a second chance in life each week. Furthermore his commitment to environmental matters, including carbon off-setting the practice’s environmental emissions, is inspiring. Lastly his commitment to veterinary education (to provide the practical experience he wish he had had as a student) is something I hope to repay to other students in the future.
Many thanks to the vets (Andrew, Miranda, Charna) and the rest of the veterinary team for providing such a fantastic learning environment. One where I always felt so welcome and part of the team, one where I was trusted to work things out on my own while at the same time provide guidance when sought, and one where there was always a cappuccino on offer when I most needed it! Thanks also to Sandi for providing a comfortable home (complete with tasty home-cooked meals!), it was a great place to recharge at the end of the long days! I am now eagerly anticipating the day (100 days from now!) when I become Dr Dave and get to ‘be the vet’ for real!
"In my time here I gained more surgical experience than I ever had previously, conducting many castrations / speys (including cat flank speys!), lump removals, dew claw removals, teeth extractions, hernia repair, wound stitch ups etc." Dave Dalton