A Day In the Life of an Intern at Encina Veterinary Hospital

Each year, Encina Veteirnary Hospital welcomes about 6 newly graduated doctors of veterinary medicine for a 1 year rotating internship with our specialists where interns gain more clinical experience and see quite the diverse palate of cases which will help with his or her career down the road.

At Encina Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek, an intern typically starts his or her day by waking up early in the morning for a very busy and productive day at work. The morning of the work day begins with daily rounds at about 7:00am regarding the cases that are currently in the hospital with the overnight, attending emergency clinician and the internal medicine specialists. After the daily morning hospital rounds, some mornings are filled with topic rounds given by the various specialist and general practitioners. These topics can range from general veterinary medicine to emergency medicine to specialized topics. The interns are challenged during these topic rounds to answer questions about the subject in order to ensure they understand important points about the covered topic.

After topic rounds or after morning cases rounds, the interns then work for the remainder of the daytime with their designated veterinary specialist to observe the daily appointments, go over the history and physical examination findings for each case, review the most common differentials for each of the cases, review how these cases are treated, and discuss the relative outcome of these cases. During part of the daytime, some of the interns may be challenged to see emergencies that might walk through the door, they may have to help the specialist with various procedures like endoscopy or surgery, or they may have their own surgeries to perform on certain designated cases.

At the end of the day when all the appointments have been seen and all the pets have been treated or cared for, the interns are responsible for helping senior doctors write up some of the medical records for the patients seen today, review and ask questions about the cases with their attending clinician, and help to round the cases that are transferring over to the overnight emergency doctor.

After nearly 12 hours of hard work, it’s about time for an intern to start heading home for the night, rest up and repeat the next day. This is a typical day in the life of a veterinary intern but day-by-day, there are always new changes to the daily schedule that could always challenge an intern to change his or her thinking or be presented with new cases that could challenge the way they learn. This is the life of a veterinary intern.

Jonathan MacStay, DVM