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Melbourne University.

Laurel Chew

"I feel so much more confident and competent as a result of this invaluable learning experience" Laurel Chew


Three weeks ago I found myself arriving at Whyalla airport, a one-terminal building in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, wondering what the coming placement at Whyalla Veterinary Clinic would be like. I needn’t have worried. It was immediately apparent that everyone at the clinic was exactly as previous students have said – so very welcoming, friendly and helpful. From the first day, I was not only allowed, but encouraged to tackle procedures I’d never done before, such as multi-rooted tooth extractions, stitch-ups and my first bleeding ovarian pedicle, under the careful and patient guidance of the experienced vets Andrew, Charna and Miranda. The skilled nurses made everything so much easier for me, and whether it was putting in a catheter in a wriggly pup or taking X-rays, they were always there for encouragement or to lend a helping hand. Their daily morning coffee/tea rounds were a great way to start the day off and are something I’ll definitely miss!

I really enjoyed the weekly overnight trips to Roxby Downs, which were always packed full with a week’s worth of consults and surgery. The rehousing program Andrew runs through the Whyalla and Roxby Downs clinics meant that we were usually travelling with at least a few animals in the back of the van!

The hours spent in the clinic after the last consults were done, tidying up and sorting out paperwork, were a great chance to chat with Andrew about everything under the sun. From a passionate discussion about the pros and cons of macs vs PCs, to a chat about preparation of Halal meat in abattoirs, it is evident he has a clearly voiced, strong opinion on almost everything, and I have learnt a lot merely through talking with him.

My time in Whyalla was made much easier by the amazing Sandi, whose lovely home-cooked meals and chats by the “fireplace” every night were always something I looked forward to. Her dog, Mickey, and cat, Smokey, would greet me at the door each evening and it wasn’t unusual to find Smokey pawing her way into my bedroom at night!

Looking back now, I feel so much more confident and competent as a result of this invaluable learning experience. For the 3 weeks I’ve been here, I’ve really felt a part of the team and I hope to stay in touch with the vets and nurses of Whyalla Veterinary Clinic. Thanks for having me guys!

NB – for future students, bring a small overnight bag for the weekly Roxby Downs trip, and don’t bother bringing your blundstone boots as WVC doesn’t see many horses.