New house officers arrive for the 2013-2014 academic year

“We work closely with the Veterinary Teaching Hospitals to find the right balance between clinical service and academic pursuits. “ Dr. Nick Frank (Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine and Chair, Department of Clinical Sciences)

Dr. Virginia Rentko, medical director of Tufts Veterinary Teaching Hospitals at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine welcomes new house officers for the 2013-2014 academic year. She notes that the relationship between the house officers and the institution is mutually beneficial:

“When the interns arrive at our veterinary teaching hospitals they are new graduates from veterinary school and have limited experience. We provide a structured learning environment where they can learn clinical skills under the guidance of board-certified clinicians.

The internship lasts one year; during this time interns are exposed to multiple specialties. If an intern is intrigued by a specialty encountered during a rotation, he or she may pursue a residency in that specialty during three additional years.”

Dr. Lilian Cornejo, Director of the Small Animal Internships, explains that the internships are very competitive: “We get very good graduates with bright futures.” She adds that while serving their internships, interns will, “see so much and have the chance to work with many specialists. This opportunity provides an accelerated growth rate professionally.”

Dr. Cornejo points out that while some recent veterinary graduates choose to do an internship with an eye toward then pursuing a residency in a specialty, others opt for an extra year of preparation and mentoring prior to pursuing private practice. In addition, she notes that while internships used to be general or spent rotating through several different specialties, interns can now focus their internship on a particular area if they choose to do so, such as surgery, and that completing an internship in a specialty can strengthen an intern’s future application to a residency program.

Dr. Nicholas Frank, Professor of Large Animal Internal Medicine and Chair
Department of Clinical Sciences, describes the skills that house officers acquire during their tenure:

“Our interns are expected to teach students, attend seminars, contribute to rounds, and give presentations. Our residents must develop into effective educators and researchers during their three-year programs. This professional development is supported by our Residents’ Enhanced Veterinary Education and Academic Learning (REVEAL) program, which enhances the academic experience. The academic parts of our internship and residency programs are managed by the Department of Clinical Sciences and we work closely with the teaching hospitals to find the right balance between clinical service and academic pursuits. The Department and hospitals depend upon one another; interns and residents could not conduct clinical research without patients and we would not be able to train our students if we did not have the hospitals. From the other perspective, it would be impossible for our hospitals to provide the same excellent level of care without the dedication and commitment of our house officers.”

Dr. Rentko specifies that residents practice public speaking skills to further prepare them for giving presentations throughout their careers. Grand Rounds are held every Friday and residents are called on to present at that time. Residents also undergo sophisticated communication training to prepare them to communicate effectively with pet owners and referring veterinarians. She adds, “They learn the soft skills needed to work as a clinician as part of their professionalism training, including a series of seminars addressing such topics as how to interact with others when it’s very busy and the pressure is high, how to manage a team, how to interview someone, and how to perform well as an interviewee.”

The hospital faculty and staff welcome the new house officers and look forward to working with them over the course of the coming year.