Hey everyone! I’m Dan Breuer, a fourth-year student from Glen Haven, Wisconsin. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 2013. I am half-way through my fourth-year at the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine. My focus is primarily dairy production medicine, with a general focus on mixed animal medicine. That’s a little about me and my background, so now I’ll give you a little sneak peek into what is going on. Every student has a different experience, especially during the clinical fourth year, so please realize that I may have a much different perspective at this point in my education than many of my other peers do.
Many exciting events have occurred since my previous post: I have taken boards, accepted a job, and was notified that I passed those boards. Graduation is now under 100 days away!
I still cannot believe that I made it into veterinary school, much less that I will be graduating in five short months.
Most patients that come to a specialty hospital like Iowa State University come on referral from their GP (general practitioner, or "primary veterinarian"). One piece I have been able to take away from a number of my rotations is how the GP can really be a major part of the referral (specialty) team.
In undergraduate, you may have had time to finish your studying or projects each night, watch a little TV or read a book (for fun!), and get up each morning to go for a run. Maybe you went dancing every Thursday night, spent weekends at a friend's place, and only ever didn't receive a full 8 hours of sleep by choice.
In veterinary school, you enter this Twilight Zone where I swear there are only like 6 hours in the day -where did the other 18 go!?
I write to you this month during one of my ICU overnight shifts. Prior to ICU, I was on the Food Animal and Camelid Medicine and Surgery rotation. I really enjoyed the food animal rotation and got to see a variety of species for appointments and overnight hospitalization, including beef cattle, sheep, goats, and alpacas. The rotation started off steady with mostly beef lameness cases, but quickly turned into assisting with several goat blood transfusions. I learned a lot and enjoyed working with the interns, residents, and clinicians.
Veterinary school demands long hours: long hours of class, long hours of studying. It can be incredibly difficult to wake up for those 8:00 AM classes or 7:00 AM extra-curriculars -especially during Iowa Winters where you will commonly get to school, and leave school, without ever seeing the fleeting sun.
On that dreary note, I would love to share some ways to trick your body into being a morning person.
For my Cardiology Service clinical rotation, we were asked to read five journal articles. Five. FIVE!?
If I had been asked to write this before my senior year, I would have said I was terrified of eyeballs. They were these mystical, fragile blobbies that are essential to both animals for sight and owners for connecting to their pets. The stress borne of the consequences if you 'mess those up' was hugely heavy to me: eyeballs were tiny face booby-traps waiting to explode (literally!), and I did not want to risk getting close to them. So, when I prepared to brave my Ophthalmology Service clinical rotation, I wished with all my wishing power… to not puke.
A lot has happened since we last spoke! I took the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), rotated through my remaining small animal rotations, signed a job contract, finished my skills check-list, and received my NAVLE results.