As I write this month’s blog, I am sitting in a hotel room in Oklahoma, where I am completing the second week of my preceptorship with Hanor, a pork production company. Since we last spoke, I have completed both the ICU and Dermatology rotations at ISU. I first transitioned from nights to days in the ICU, which was a harder adjustment for me than working nights. I had a lot of swing shifts, which are scheduled from 10 AM to 10 PM versus the standard 8 AM to 8 PM.
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.
And just like that another fourth-year rotation is in the books! Since my last blog, I have been immersed in swine land. I first completed a preceptorship with Iowa Select Farms and am now just wrapping up a rotation at ISU with the Swine Medicine Education Center (SMEC), best known as “SMEC 480.”
The past month of rotations has flown by! I have completed two rotations, started my VetPrep program, and have registered for the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE) and with the Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine.
So far, my rotations have provided a great opportunity to get to know classmates that I previously haven’t spent much time with. Now that everyone is closing in on a career path, it has been great to create a network of species experts that I will be able to refer to in the future.
Since we last spoke, my third year of veterinary school ended rather abruptly with finals on Monday-Thursday, and my first day of fourth year beginning on Friday at 8 am. I am now over halfway through my first rotation, Equine Ambulatory. Even though I am on the food animal track for graduation, one equine course is required among ambulatory, medicine, and surgery.
My fourth year journey starts in less than 30 days at ISU CVM, meaning a new rotation every two weeks until May of 2019! Consequently, I have a lot of work to do in the upcoming month with deadlines fast approaching. Yet, my excitement is building to get out of the classroom and apply the knowledge I have gained over the past three years. That also means I have to start considering plans for after graduation.
Since my last blog, I attended the 2018 AASV (American Association of Swine Veterinarians) Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. It was a great conference again this year filled with seminars, student oral and poster presentations, along with many networking opportunities. No matter who you talk to, they will attest that AASV is a very student friendly organization, especially when it comes to offering funding to students wishing to attend the conference each year. The timing of the conference unfortunately falls before spring break each year, so it can take some time to get caught up with classes upon return, but definitely worth the effort given how much the conference has to offer. I had a few exams that required rescheduling, which needed to be addressed in advanced on a per instructor basis.
The semester is now in full swing with two exams down and plenty to go before clinical rotations begin in May!
There are a lot of species-specific electives offered this semester, including poultry diseases, small ruminant production medicine, entrepreneurship, equine lameness, and equine surgery. I am enrolled in the poultry and small ruminant courses, given that these species are minimally covered in the core curriculum.
My name is Megan Nickel and I am a third-year veterinary student from Theresa, Wisconsin. I grew up on a dairy farm and completed my bachelor’s degree in animal science at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) in 2015. During my time at UWRF, I worked in their animal welfare laboratory, at a local mixed animal practice, and at an emergency and referral center near the Twin Cities. Between my undergraduate degree and entry into veterinary school, I completed an animal welfare internship with Oscar Mayer/Kraft Foods.