Sunday, June 29, 2014

I'm alive!

So if anyone is still reading this, hello! I am writing my first post as Julie Lada, DVM! I locked down my blog while applying for jobs. It's just a good idea to minimize your non-professional social media presence during that time.

Externships were a mixed bag for me. My first one, at the emergency/internal medicine specialty clinic was fantastic. I learned so, so much so quickly. I got to play with an endoscope, and take biopsies (bone core, and endoscopic). I saw a few splenectomies, one of which weighed 15.5 lbs! And a ton of pyometras, most of which were septic and required 3-4 days of 24 hour care. Spay your pets, people!

The second internship was very informative in many regards, and also very frustrating. The first thing I learned was that the avian specialist, a large part of the reason I chose that clinic, would be gone for 2/3 of the time I was there and I wasn't told this prior to scheduling. That was a huge let down, particularly since I really enjoyed working with him my first day. The second half of the problem was that I don't know if they aren't accustomed to hosting students so near the end of their schooling, but I was basically treated like a technician to a large degree. Instead of going into exotics appointments, I was being asked to scale and polish dog teeth, or even restrain for anal gland expressions. If I mentioned that I was already comfortable with my skills doing a routine scale & polish, but if they had any extractions to please let me know as I needed more experience with those, I was told that I was "there to learn" and to stop turning down opportunities I was given. I was also asked not to assist with taking a history in the room, just to stand against the wall until I was asked to do something. Compare this with at the previous externship, I was going into rooms on my own to take a history, do a physical, and report back to the internal medicine specialist with my differential list and plan. And at this clinic, I wasn't even allowed to ask a single question.

Like I said, frustrating. Probably the nail in the coffin was a neuter gone horribly wrong, where I was told, "It's all you, I'm just your assistant!" and then everything I wanted to do was second-guessed and micromanaged. Many of the things that the vet "assisting" me wanted me to do are outdated and now regarded as incorrect technique. For example, I was told to place eight throws on each spermatic cord. Eight! And I was also told that you cannot place a transfixing ligature in a neuter. I was really uncomfortable, and then told later that I made her feel uncomfortable. So both of us were unhappy with the way it went. (FYI, my new employer watched me do a dog neuter two days ago. I used a one clamp technique, two ligatures - one modified Millers and one transfixing. All of my ligatures held beautifully, and I was done inside of 20 minutes start to finish. She called me a "rock star" and said I didn't require any further instruction in routine surgeries. I'm just saying, surgery is one of my strong suits and it really, really bothered me to have my skills brought into question.)

So yeah, I ended that externship early and came home to take an in-house rotation at Illinois because we were just a horrible fit. For that reason, Rossies, I recommend not taking a 4 week externship unless you really know the clinic well. I could've been stuck there for another 2 weeks of misery.

In other news, I have a job! I interviewed at four clinics, and was offered 3 out of 4 of the positions. The one I was turned down for smarted a bit, as it was a great salary working with very talented people with lots of the latest diagnostic toys. But I made it from the initial 17 new grads interviewing to the final 5, so I can be proud of that, at least. And I'm happy with where I wound up. The team and I seem like a really great fit, we joke around a lot, and it's a comfortable atmosphere. I'm the newest addition at the Banfield clinic in NW Indianapolis, going from a 3 to a 4 doctor clinic. So far I've been really impressed with the company; patient care, client satisfaction, diagnostics, employee benefits, etc. I think I can really be happy here. And my clinic just got a digital dental radiograph unit, so yaaaay! Now if I can just talk my boss into letting me get an ultrasound. ;)

So there you have it. I completed my goal of writing a Ross vet student blog from start to finish. Now you guys know it's possible to survive without failing out or being eaten alive by a giant centipede. Good luck, Rossies! And now and always, GO GREEN!


  1. Yay! Congratulations on everything! I was hoping that you had just taken a break and not stopped blogging altogether, although I imagined you may not have had time for it. I'm glad you are well and things are going so wonderfully for you!

  2. Congratulations!

    FYI, one of the famous Decorah Eagles (famous because of a webcam) underwent surgery to repair a broken wing yesterday and there are X-Rays and some photos here:

    It's a shame you couldn't have done more avian surgery. They are so delicate even when they're huge!

  3. Phew! When I found out your blog had been locked down, I panicked a bit :P I love reading your posts and I'm glad you didn't vanish! It's a pity about your disappointing externship, but congratulations on everything that went well!

  4. I'm so glad you blogged about your journey! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experiences. I how you continue blogging if not here then under another title!