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Eagerness and Uncertainty

The Chinook students were asked to write reflective pieces about their experiences as veterinarians in the North. Some of these pieces will be published, as blog posts, some without the names of the author.


As I think back to my first year of veterinary medicine, I was excited for the next four years, but also overwhelmed wondering if all the information I was learning would come together and I’d feel prepared to be a veterinarian at the end of those four years. I also think back to the first day of my fourth year rotations this past spring which was also a very exciting and overwhelming time. Although I felt prepared to enter my rotations, I was nervous thinking ahead about my future and seeing how quickly time flies by; I would be a veterinarian in one year’s time.

Busy clinic in Sheshatshiu, students doing surgery

Starting each new chapter of veterinary school, whether it be first year, second year or just a new rotation during my fourth year is exciting and overwhelming all at once. I remember the first clinic day on The Chinook Project - we were all eager to see our first patient but unsure of how the clinic would run, what people would expect and how skilled we would be on surgery and anesthesia. From the beginning of the week where I was feeling a little unsure of how the whole clinic worked and trying to recall all of my surgical/anesthetic skills from third year, to the last day of the clinic where I felt confident in my skills and comfortable with the process of the clinic, I noticed a huge difference in my own abilities as a future veterinarian. By the end of the week, I was able to scrub into difficult surgeries on my own without the assistance of a veterinarian. This type of experience really allowed me to gain confidence in my own surgical skills and has prepared me for the type of work I want to do – small animal general practice.

Dr. Foley and students

As I think back on my last clinic day on The Chinook Project, I remember the second group of students arriving and I saw in them what I had just experienced only 5 days ago – eagerness and uncertainty. They described us as if we had been setting up clinics, spaying, and neutering for months. It seems we had gained the confidence it takes to be a veterinarian in such a short period of time. Because of this, I believe The Chinook Project was such a valuable experience for a fourth year veterinary student like myself. As I previously mentioned, it’s hard to believe how quickly time flies. I will be graduating as a veterinarian in eight month’s time now. Each rotation, I feel a little more prepared and a little more confident. As hard as it is to believe as a first year student that you will actually begin to recognize diseases, know what treatments are necessary, and be able to complete surgeries on your own by fourth year, it is true. I am so thankful for what The Chinook Project taught me and how it helped me grow as a veterinary student – skills I can take with me moving forward into the next chapter of my veterinary career.

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