As I am driving along State Highway 21 from College Station back
to Dallas for winter break, I am feeling both joy and anxiety.
Nantika (far left) and her surgical team
My friend’s words are stuck in my head: “We are 5/8 doctor!” as we
just finished our fifth semester in veterinary school. The joyful
part is that I’m more than half way through my veterinary
education; the anxiety-laden part is that there are only three
semesters left before I become a doctor and go out into the real
It feels like it was just yesterday when I drove along this
highway from Dallas to College Station for my vet school interview.
Five semesters have gone by very fast.
However, it has laid a very strong foundation. The highlight of
this semester was the surgery class. It was stressful, but I gained
more confidence after each surgery laboratory, which includes a
surgery group of three students rotating weekly through the roles
of surgeon, assistant surgeon, and anesthetist.
The surgeon needs to be certain in surgical procedures and the
anatomy of the patient. Once the procedure starts and the patient
is under anesthesia, we are on the clock.
The anesthetist must monitor how deep the patient is under the
anesthetic gas and that adequate oxygen flow is delivered to the
patient. The blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body
temperature must be within normal range. The assistant surgeon
needs to be sure that the proper surgical equipment and aseptically
(protected against infections) technique be prepared for
During this learning process, besides the surgical knowledge, I
also learned to communicate effectively with my surgerical team.
Upon completing this course, I feel I've gained the confidence to
continue my journey as a doctor.
I can see that next time I drive back home on this state
highway, I will be driving as a “6/8 doctor,” and, finally, in May
2020, I will become “a doctor.”