Vet student Sharna thrives on placement with support from IVC Evidensia EMS bursary fund

Vet student Sharna Walker recently completed her Extra Mural Studies placement with support from the IVC Evidensia EMS Bursary. The bursary exists to support students in finding the best possible placement for their learning, providing financial support to students on placement. Sharna shared with us how her recent EMS placement has developed her vet surgery skills, and how the bursary increased her opportunities for learning.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into veterinary medicine?

I moved into veterinary medicine as a mature student. My first degree is in bio-veterinary science, so this is my second degree.  I’ve been working as a veterinary care assistant since my gap year. I continue to do so part-time around my studies, so that I can enhance my experience in the sector, and to cover living costs.

Could you share your experience during your EMS placement, supported by the IVC Evidensia bursary?

My clinic is a fast-paced and busy one! I gained a lot of surgical experience and time in theatre, I also managed to practise tasks like urinary catheterisation, which are incredibly valuable for my clinical skills. The bursary payments covered my rent for the month, so I was free to concentrate on my learning and development. I was able to focus entirely in theatre and on clinical skills, rather than working my normal tasks as a VCA. It was a welcome break to actually focus only on my EMS and studies.

In what ways did the support from the IVC Evidensia practice team impact your learning and development during your placement?

I was able to perform castrations with guidance from the rest of the team which has really helped grow my physical surgical skills, getting to put my learning into practice rather than just observing surgeries being performed. Suturing is a different beast when it's live tissue as opposed to practice kits!

How has completing this EMS placement influenced your future goals and aspirations in the field of veterinary medicine?

It’s helped me learn more about what areas I want to focus on, I’ve decided I prefer internal medicine to orthopaedics and solidified my choice of small animal over large or equine.

We hope to increase awareness of the EMS bursary and what it can offer to veterinary students. What would you say to fellow students who might be considering applying for the bursary in the future?

It’s a great tool to relieve pressure. Vet students are already under a lot of pressure just from our studies alone, as well as travelling to placements, taking time away from work etc. – so the bursary really eases that burden and allows you to fully focus.

How did working closely with experienced veterinarians during your placement impact your learning?

It was great to have that support and the opportunity to learn from the clinicians around me. The clinical director worked closely with me during surgeries and tested my knowledge in general, which highlighted areas for me to continue to work on and also boosted my confidence!

How do you envision the skills and knowledge gained during this EMS placement benefiting you as you continue your journey toward becoming a veterinary surgeon?

I feel much more confident in my skills and am more prepared and ready to handle anything that comes my way - including emergencies. I feel able to perform under pressure and have increased my familiarity with surgical procedures. It’s been a really valuable experience.