Yesterday, my friend and I had plans to head down to the Houston livestock show and rodeo and shadow the on site vet who just happens to be one of our clinicians. Dr. Rodeo was so perfectly nice and accommodating. We still can't do much, because we have so little clinical knowledge, but we did get to put some of the pieces together with some of the things we have learned this year (what bacteria causes foot rot, what's the withdrawl time for banamine, how long bovine gestation is, ect). One of the major things about yesterday was that we spent a lot of time around actual clients. We do get to see a lot of cases even in our first year of class, but we never, never, never get to deal with the clients. I learned yesterday that I think that is where my education may fall short, the relationship with the client is about 85% of my job. We will get to interact with clients our 4th year in clinics, and in summers on externships if we choose, but not until then. I suppose I understand why, I can see how we could really screw that up--we just don't know enough yet. I was astounded yesterday when our first case was a heifer that was supposedly calving. She wasn't you could tell by looking at her, but the young man that owned her was just sure she was in distress and would plop out a calf at any minute. We kept trying to reassure him that all was well, and she would deliver in her own time, but he insisted on never leaving her side (he even slept on a bale of hay in her pen the previous night and woke up every hour to check on her). As we walked away I asked Dr. Rodeo why he was so worked up about something that was really not that big of a deal. "He doesn't know what you know, as the Dr. it's your job to teach him."
Dr. Rodeo had another conversation with a client that got rather heated. He owned a sow that was having an allergic reaction to something and was developing hives. She explained that the sow was going to slaughter tomorrow and therefore couldn't be treated with anything. The client was not satisfied with that and continued to argue and push her. She didn't budge. I watched wandering the whole time what I would've done in that situation. The rules are cut and dry, and giving that sow something could've cost her her license. But, dealing with that situation is not something they've taught us how to do, at least not yet.
I actually used to be really great with clients, back before I really knew what I was doing. Now, I've been taught to focus on the medicine and the animal so much that it's hard to see past that. I was told that sometimes vet school will make you loose your common sense. I hadn't really noticed it was true until yesterday (though I'm sure my husband would say differently). I really need to find an externship this summer where I can be back in the real world. It'd be nice to be able to talk to people again.