I am currently doing a work experience placement at a Vets. I finish on Friday and the vets have encouraged me to ask them lots of questions.
Unfortunately, when it comes to asking questions - I kind of suck.
So I need help!
What kind of questions should I ask the Vets? Ones that will be really useful to me when I come to write my personal statement, have interviews and simply give me interesting, educational, unique answers.
At my last veterinary practice placement, I just asked about everything. What veterinary school the vets had come from, why they wanted to be vets and questions about their careers. I also asked a lot about what they were doing too (surgical wise), even though they did explain a lot of their own accord. As I was so interested, after an eye enucleation the vet instructed me on how to dissect the eye! When I did it for biology I already knew what to expect!
Its good to ask about as much as possible I think. It's certainly helped me gain some great references. Start with the more simpler questions about the vets themselves or what they are doing and as the conversation develops just go from there! It gets easier =)
I asked some useful questions, such as what gas they were using, what vital signs did they check for to monitor anaesthesia, why did they use different suture material, did it have different properties? What is routine aftercare of operations, when would be safe to leave the patient on their own etc .
I always carried a pocket notebook where I could write down anything interesting or useful that the vets said during lunch hour or a quiet period. Don't be worried about asking questions, I've asked some silly ones sometimes and they never minded too much and it was helpful when the corrected my incorrect beliefs!
Simply ask them what they or doing or why they are doing it can get you a useful response. If there is something you don't understand about a disease, then that is worth asking too. When they do bloods you could ask what they are testing for? What do the results indicate? Also, what do you vaccinate against? Are those disease a problem in the UK/area you are in? What requirements are there for pets moving across the border and back into the UK? Are there any disadvantages to vaccinating? Does the public always vaccinate their pets, if not, why not? You'll see a lot of neutering happening, and it's not just about birth control. Why are you removing the uterus as well as ovaries? Ask them, why do you recommend spaying / what benefits does it carry? What age and why not older/younger?
Hope this helps Just a few ideas/suggestions.
Also, I think it's sometimes best to ask questions when the owner is not there and they are writing notes on the computer, or even during your lunch break if vets are also having lunch. Not sure what others do and this will vary from placement to placement I guess.
I know there's not a lot you can really do in a practice but showing willingness to get stuck in with some of the less exciting jobs like cleaning is as impressive as showing willingness to learn. I work in a practice and doing little things like that is how you become part of the team, not just the student that gets in the way. I've seen work experience like that and always wondered if they were like it at other placements like farms etc because I can't imagine ever doing well somewhere like that without being more proactive.
Plus, it gets you on the nurses' good side, and often they are the ones who'll invite you back / nag the vet to write your reference. xD
^ My vets liked if I offered to clean tables between consults, and also I helped feed some of the animals and clean out cages that were dirty, and a few boring jobs like folding scrubs but it does help if you are willing to do more boring jobs too, for the reasons mentioned above.
Ask about anything you are at all curious about - if the vet diagnoses a particular illness, asks how he knows, or how common the disease it, and how he would treat it. As tamimi says, it's not a trick - don't ask questions because it's a requirement of work experience, just ask about whatever you don't understand! At this stage, what I don't understand is pretty much everything, so just ask why/when/how/what the vet is doing, or why an animal is acting in the way it is, and that sort of thing.