Academic Internship


June 14, 2011 – Internship Blog Post #7

Based on what I have seen at my internship site, I have noticed that in order to actually do and understand something, you need to have prior knowledge that you can draw on and be successful. Having knowledge in a certain field is needed for almost all jobs, so making sure to maximize your learning in college, and trying to gain experience in a field, will help you become more successful in life.

As veterinary medicine is closely related to biology, I think that it has had somewhat of an impact on the college path I have been considering. I have already had the idea that I wanted to major in biology, and focus more on the research aspects of it. However, through my internship I have started to gain an interest in working with animals, and helping, both people and animals through practicing medicine. I believe that the experience I am gaining at my internship, as well as what I have observed, has made me consider looking into pursuing a career in the medical field. After talking to various people about where to go to college, and for what reasons, I think that I will try and stay near San Diego as it has a strong biology influence, however, if I wish to attend a vet school I would have to travel as there is not necessarily one close or nearby.

My college path will probably focus on biology, as it continues to remain interesting to me, and trying to learn more about all of the different aspects of it so that I can decide on the career I would like to pursue. Continuing to try and gain experience through volunteering, interning, research, and asking questions, will hopefully allow me expand my knowledge and find what I am most passionate about.

June 9, 2011 – Internship Blog Post #6

As my internship continues, I continue working to complete projects, while finding myself in new situations, or encountering questions about something that needs clarification. Whenever I am talking to my mentor, or someone else, I try to make sure I understand what they are telling me, and if I am unsure about anything I try to ask questions, until that uncertainty disappears. So far, from spending time at this internship, I have found that communication really plays a vital role in making sure everything runs smoothly, animals are treated, and people understand what to do. Communication helps everyone reach the common goal of providing excellent care, and is used everyday.

For example, when working on tracking antibiotic resistance, I found that one of the antibiotics being tested for was not on the spreadsheet, so I told my mentor, and after talking to Mindy in the lab, we added a column for it. Also, during that project, while most of the time I spent entering data for cats (felines) and dogs (canines), I also encountered a few tests done for horses, and even a bear. I noticed that different antibiotics were being tested for the horses than for the cats and dogs. After asking questions, I found out that different drugs are used on horses because they are much larger than animals, and I was also told to not include that data in the spreadsheet.

After finishing a project, or if I had nothing to do for awhile, I would ask people around me if they needed help with anything. Taking the initiative to find something to do helped encourage me to meet new people, try to help out as much as I could, and keep me busy to prevent boredom.

In the beginning of my time here, I also spent a lot of time getting lost in the hallways. Only after communicating with, and meeting, people I found, and asking them where I could find certain rooms or people, was I able to find my way around. Even after finding my way around, I would sometimes have trouble-locating people. I would then have to find and call their extension from the phones throughout the building.

June 7, 2011 – Internship Blog Post #5

I could see myself doing this job in the future, as there are many different things that appeal to me, however while some things are positive, there are some aspects that I dislike. Having to start every day waking up early, and then driving, commuting or carpooling all the way to San Diego, while sitting in traffic, is very tedious and tiresome. In the future, I think it would be important to consider having a job that requires a long commute, especially if it is during rush hour. Medicine is directly related to biology, which I have a strong interest in, and I would enjoy working with animals, I believe that it is possible that pursue a career similar to that of my internship. The field of veterinary medicine is similar to pediatric medicine based on the fact that the patients cannot speak for themselves, and require the help of the parents, or owner. At my internship I have noticed that medicine requires you to think, adapt to new situations, learn from mistakes, and communicate. A fast-paced job where you are always moving, learning, and confronted with new situations, or challenges, keeps work from becoming a monotonous day-to-day experience even if the routine remains the same.

June 2, 2011 – Internship Blog Post #4

Me sitting at a computer in the Doctor's Rounds Room where I spent time working and compiling data about antibiotic resistance.

A plate from the on-site lab, where a bacteria's resistance to different antibiotics, found on the impregnated white discs, is tested.

A fridge in the lab, where new culture plates are stored.

 Different types of bacteria grow on these plates, where their size, shape, and pattern, as well as tests, allow an organism to be identified.

May 31, 2011 – Internship Blog Post #3

The first few days at my internship site have each been unique in their own way. At one moment, everything can be busy and chaotic, while minutes later everything becomes silent and quiet. Being at the hospital was really frustrating at first, because I continued to get lost in the expanse of hallways, and at sometimes even forgot what floor of the building I was on. After asking people around me where to find certain rooms, or my mentor, I started to meet a large variety of people who were happy to help. Lots of people seem to enjoy their jobs, and find the small positive things that make them happy. While helping track antibiotic resistance seen from patient to patient, and recording the data in a spreadsheet, I spent a lot of time in the doctors’ rounds room where I continued to meet and talk to new people. There I really understood how important communication is in a hospital. The doctors, interns, and techs all helped each other out, kept each other up-to-date about patients, and tried lightening the mood. They also kept in touch with the patients’ owners and continued updating them about their pet, while trying to answer any questions they had. By continuously communicating with one another, everyone is able to work toward the main goal of providing excellent patient care. Today felt like a really good day because I finally figured out my way around the building, and could move from room to room with ease. I’ve also figured out that after doing certain things for a while, productivity increases and things could be done much quicker.

May 26, 2011 – Internship Blog Post #2

At the Veterinary Specialty Hospital, a work day for operations manager, Nancy Burgi is never exactly the same. The most important part of her job is to manage the labor in the hospital while relying on a calendar and email to set her daily agenda. Her day may range from meetings with staff and supervisors, where agendas are made and actions are put into motion, to dealing with schedules so that their goal of providing excellent patient care is met, to checking reports and managing their computer system. The computer system holds the digital record of each of their patients, ranging from scans of x-rays to lab results to attached notes. The system also holds the patient demographics and who is taking care of whom, while also being used as the billing system as well as keeping a legal medical record. Another important aspect of her job is to make sure things keep running smoothly, and to make sure that happens, a priority is placed on communication. Communication between everyone in the hospital is important, so that everyone knows what is happening when, and if changes to procedures or policies are made or edited. Checking in with technicians helps them do their job and remain accountable towards their goal of providing excellent care. Goals, targets, and deadlines are also extremely important as they help keep everything moving, and promote the beneficial use of time.

Nancy describes the job as being very satisfying, because she likes being busy as well as enjoying the medical and scientific aspect of her job. The medical component keeps changing over the years, in sometimes-unexpected ways, while the science part never really changes. Another positive is that there is always a group of specialists that are really motivated to learn and share their knowledge. Nancy thrives in a chaotic, challenging, and changing environment as she is able to roll with the changes, make quick choices and adapt to change. She enjoys being able to put her passion for creativity to use by planning projects and having a say in things. With authority, she is able to affect positive change, in a relatively large company.

May 24, 2011 – Internship Blog Post #1

Through this internship, I believe that I will learn a lot about what it is like to work in a professional environment, experience many new things, meet new people, and find out what it is like to work in a medical field. As hospitals tend to be an environment where you have to be able to adapt to constantly changing surroundings, I hope to learn about what it takes to work under these conditions. I am also interested in the pros and cons that come with working in a hospital, as well as the amount of time and studying that it takes to become successful. It must be important to stay organized and manage your time wisely, so that you can accomplish what you hope to and prevent anything bad from happening, or mistakes from being made. I am sure there are going to be many differences between working with people and working with animals, so there are also going to be many interesting similarities that I would like to find out more about. One of my favorite subjects in school has always been science, specifically biology, and as this internship focuses on anatomy and physiology of animals, I hope to expand my knowledge and build upon things I have learned in the past. Although, I do not expect to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, this internship might persuade me to think about focusing on some aspect of medicine, depending on how everything turns out. As people tend to think of pets equally important as humans, they care for them just as much and would probably go through great lengths to make them better. I want to approach everything as a learning experience, so that I can learn as much I can over the coming weeks and make the most of my time.

April 18, 2011 – Ampersand

Ampersand – the student journal of school & work, chronicles High Tech High Media Art’s Juniors’ experience and insight gained from an internship. The first video in the series, Ampersand: Advice to Future Interns, provides advice to help future interns.  Students touch on subject that I believe are very important, such as being enthusiastic, ready to learn, expect the unexpected and make the most of it. The internships not only provide us with real world work experience, they also give us a chance to help figure out what you want to, or not want to, do later in life. Being yourself and treating the internship as a real job could open up further opportunities and benefit you in the long run. Keeping an open mind, and being prepared for anything will help maximize what’s taken away, and learned, from the internship, as well as make it a fun an enjoyable experience.

February 11, 2011 – Career Day

For my career day, I knew that I wanted to intern at a company that revolves around some aspect of biology. I had a hard time trying to find a specific area of biology that I wanted to pursue, and finally decided to look into veterinary medicine. On career day, I went to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Sorrento Valley, CA. The specialty hospital is different from a general veterinarian where most people take their pets for a checkup, spaying and neutering, vaccinations, or for emergencies. The Veterinary Specialty Hospital focuses on specific areas of veterinary medicine for cats and dogs, so they get a lot of their business from referring, general veterinarians. Their veterinary specialties include internal medicine, surgery, oncology, neurology, ophthalmology, and dermatology. They also having an emergency and critical care department that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, unlike most general vets, who, when closed, have a message that refers their clients there. During my time there, I shadowed/followed around an RVT, registered veterinary technician, named Lauren.

A typical workday at VSH for a veterinary technician is similar to the roles of a nurse at a human hospital. While I was there, she spent most, if not all, of her time in the intermediate care wards, for both the cats and the dogs, where the animals needed more supervision than those in the general ward, but less than the intensive care unit (ICU). Basically she does whatever the doctors need her to do as well as check on all of the animals, draw blood, place catheters or IVs, feed and give them water, take some for walks around the building, get and give medications, record observations, and many other, sometimes minor, but important, jobs. She also helps out anyone else if the need arises, such as during an emergency, or restraining a large dog who needs blood drawn. Whenever there is some free time, she helps stock drawers with the necessary supplies of bandages, needles, tubes, gloves, or whatever is needed. At other times she helps keep the hospital clean, to keep from spreading infection.

The site’s general work policies are pretty strict, to keep everyone reliable and prevent placing strains on both coworkers and VSH operations. During part of the day I talked with the human resources manager, Jill, who showed me parts of the employee handbook. Here is the part about their attendance policy:  Here and here. Basically, if you do not tell your supervisor, and/or HR, that you are late, or not coming in to work, there is the possibility of termination.

The dress code in place was scrubs for those that worked directly with the animals, with the color of the scrubs depending on position, such as whether registered or not. The dress code for the people up front, the first line of staff that meets, greets, and helps customers, seemed to be business casual.

To work on site, you at least need to have a high school diploma, with which you cannot work directly with animals. To become a veterinarian, you need to attend 4 years of college and an additional 4 years of veterinary medicine. As well as, pass a rigorous national veterinary medical board exam – similar to the bar exam for law. After that, in order to practice in a state, you need to pass a state board exam, that addresses certain requirements put fourth by the state you wish to practice in. My mentor got into her field, by graduating from a two-year animal science program at mesa college.

From shadowing my career day mentor, I learned a lot about what it is like to work at a veterinary hospital. When I first went to career day, I was given a tour of the facility and was amazed at the similarity to a regular hospital. The veterinary hospital consisted of 5 treatment wards, 18 exam rooms, 6 operating rooms, an ultrasound room, endoscopy room, a dedicated room for dentistry, a state of the art ICU (Intensive Care Unit), a CT scanner, an MRI machine, a full service laboratory, digital fluoroscopy, a complete oncology Center, including medical and radiation therapy, a joint replacement and orthopedic surgery suite, a neurosurgery suite, and much more, all within 3 stories totaling 26,500 sq ft. The building was also shared with U.C. Davis that also provided dialysis facilities. Throughout the day I was able to observe everything that happened in the intermediate care unit (INC), the ER (emergency room), and the front desk (CSR or client services). Everywhere I went, the amount of work that needed to be done always fluctuated. One minute it would be very slow and quiet, and the next would be loud and crazy with everyone rushing to do something. Everyone seemed to work well under the intense pressure required at certain times, and worked towards the same goal. At one point while I was in the ER a doctor, who was off work that day, brought in her dog who everyone thought had swallowed a tennis ball. In the ER, they gave the dog something to cause it to vomit, and hopefully spit out the ball, but after a while, and a lot of dog food, they found out the dog hadn’t eaten the ball, so they gave it other anti-vomit medicine. After that the ER slowed down for a couple minutes, until a dog came in seizing at which point everyone came together to try to figure out what was wrong and treat the seizures. The ER again slowed down after a while, until a cat, who was about to go into surgery, was taken into the ER because it was going into heart failure. Throughout the roller-coaster time of being in the ER, a doctor, assistant, or technician, (I’m not sure which) described the ongoing scene, of working in a veterinary hospital, as “controlled chaos”. To work as a veterinarian it is important to have great communication skills, to talk with the clients, and communicate with co-workers, work well under pressure, and have a deep and broad understanding of biology, specifically physiology, anatomy, and behavioral sciences. From being at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital for career day, I can tell that if I am there for my internship, I will mostly be able to help out more with office work, restocking, and jobs that do not really deal directly with the animals. I would however, be able to continue to observe and try to help out with whatever I could.

Artifact – One of VSH’s brochures


8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    why did you have a hard time choosing a specific area in bio? do you like multiple sections of biology?

  2. 2

    Ethan said,

    It sounds like you had an exciting career day and got to tour an amazing facility. From what you wrote it seems like you got a good understanding of what goes on at a veterinary hospital. Knowing that you wouldn’t be able to directly work with the animals, do you still want to spend your internship there?

  3. 3

    Aria Pipp said,

    Hey great job! It sounds like you had fun time. I thought it was great how not only did you go into detail about college requirements and dress code but you also verified what you were saying with emotions you were feeling.

  4. 4

    Chad said,

    What Steps are you going to take to get a career in biology?

  5. 5

    Vidal said,

    Is there anything or anyone that might be getting in your way of doing what you want to do?? If so how do you plan on dealing with it?

  6. 6

    Mrs. Howard said,

    Sounds really good! I look forward to visiting your site!

  7. 7

    Matteo Santini said,

    Wow, your working with that kind of stuff. THATS SO COOOOL. Dont get and dog diseases. Also do you get to look at everything? All in all it seems super cool.

  8. 8

    Iliana said,

    This looks like a lot a fun! It seems like your having a good time 🙂

Comment RSS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: