Getting More Hands-On in Second Year

It is already week six for veterinary students here at Texas A&M.

The semester has been filled with so many unique learning moments I thought I would share what it looks like to be a second-year student. This year, our classes are more focused on what it’s like to be a doctor, rather than just lecture-based classes.

For example, we have one class called “Organ Dysfunction” in which we get different cases (based on real hospital cases) each week and work through them with our “team.” We come up with different test and diagnoses for that pet and then discuss as a class why we were or were not right.

I think it is remarkable that as a second year I get to start working through cases that came through the hospital just as if I was in my fourth-year clinical rotations at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Another class in which we get more hands-on time is our anesthesia lab. We learn what each machine does, how to properly place it on the patient, and what it monitors during the anesthesia process.

For this lab, we got to bring our furry friends from home and take a blood pressure reading. We also connected them to an EKG (an electrocardiogram, which is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat), and learned how to read and interpret the information properly.

Taylor’s dog Jameson is a model patient, allowing Taylor to practice taking his blood pressure—using a blood pressure cuff similar to those human doctors use to take your blood pressure—during her anesthesia lab.

Lastly, in our “Professional & Clinical Skills” class, second-year students learn how to properly do CPR using models. Yes, even dogs can get CPR. We learned all about proper hand placement and rhythm, and then we worked in teams through different scenarios in which CPR would be needed.

It was eye-opening to work with different classmates and see how each person handles “high-stress” situations differently. We were able to give each other feedback on what went well and what we could fix. There has been a lot of peer teaching this semester, and although many students may not care for group work, I would say it’s been very helpful because each student sees the situation differently; what one student sees, another may not.

This creates a learning opportunity that is different than just sitting in a lecture-style classroom. It also gives students the chance to work with peers they may not normally work with and to work with a variety of personalities as well. As a second-year student, this semester has been filled with hands-on activities that makes learning really fun.

It also has shown me a preview into some things we may encounter in fourth-year rotations, or even later in life. This small preview has made me super excited for what may come and fuels the passion I have for veterinary medicine. Here is to more adventures to come!