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. It offers financial support to allow for more choice when deciding where to go for placement.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.