Training the Veterinarians of Tomorrow

A veterinary student’s curriculum involves three years of intensive coursework and one final year of clinical instruction. Training more than 135 fourth-year DVM students annually, the UC Davis veterinary hospital wholeheartedly embraces its responsibility of being a teaching institution. Each student is closely supervised by faculty and resident veterinarians in order to ensure proper training, and that every animal is given the best possible care.

As the world’s leading clinical veterinary teaching facility, the hospital provides students with more access to cases than any other university hospital. With more than 50,000 cases annually and more than 30 specialty disciplines, UC Davis is able to provide its students the most diverse caseload and unique learning experiences.

Every patient visit includes a training opportunity for fourth-year students, as students are assigned to each case brought to the hospital. A student is often the first to greet hospital clients after check-in to start the welcoming process by gathering a history of the patient’s health record and performing a physical examination. Once the preliminary information has been collected, the student will present findings to a supervising veterinarian, who continues the examination.

If needed, students also assist in obtaining specimens for diagnostic tests, and are involved in the discussion about how to best move forward with patient care. All final medical decisions are made by faculty veterinarians and veterinary specialists after discussion and approval with clients, who come to UC Davis for the team approach and the opportunity to be part of the teaching process.

More often than not, a letter of praise received from a client thanks the student before thanking the faculty and staff who assisted in their animal's care. Students often ultimately spend the most time with each hospitalized patient, performing feedings, walks, and assisting technicians with continuing care procedures. This personalized care offers a benefit to both client and patient, all the while providing an in-depth learning experience for the student.

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