Liam's EMS Placement

Liam WilsonI'm a 4th year student at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh and have recently completed 2 weeks work experience at the Sheffield branch of Vets Now based at the PDSA centre in Attercliff. I mostly worked night shifts which lasted from 6pm until things began to slow down at around 3-4am. Due to the nature of emergency care, my finishing time varied each night depending on how busy it was. I also experienced two day shifts (9am-6pm) as my placement was over the Easter weekend, so there were bank holidays to cover!

I have a keen interest in Emergency and Critical Care which is what led me to approach Vets Now for a placement, and I also I thought being exposed to emergency cases during EMS would better prepare me for seeing these cases when I graduate. This was definitely the case over my placement!

I really enjoyed how much hands-on experience I gained whilst there, such as placing IV catheters. I now actually think I've started to get a bit of the knack for it! Also, I was able to take emergency consultations which involved taking a history, conducting the clinical exam with the Vet observing, stepping outside to discuss a differentials list/treatment plan with the Vet, and then relaying this information to the client. This was massively helpful, and I saw a definite improvement in my consultation technique over the two weeks!

During down-time, I often informally discussed cases that were in the hospital, or other cases which the Vet had seen recently. This involved talking through a rationale for diagnostics and treatment plan, and helped to further integrate knowledge from lectures into a more practical application. Other times I just ended up having a really good chat with the nurses, gaining many tips for post-graduation and beyond!

I was also able to assist with emergency surgeries, such as a Caesarean section during which I was active in managing the pups. I was also able to observe other emergency surgical procedures, such as Pyometra and placing a chest drain, and the Vets were always happy to explain what was going on and to answer any questions I had about the procedures.

Managing the in-patients was also an important part of the placement, and this involved calculating fluid rates for patients on IV fluids, and managing the IV fluid lines. I got taught a lot of tips and tricks for managing the lines as well, such as easy ways to get rid of excessive air bubbles in the line!

In addition to what you'd expect to see going into the placement, there'll always be surprises... for example, one night we had an anorexic African Grey Parrot coming in at 3am in the morning!

I would highly recommend an EMS placement at Vets Now!