Post-Graduate Training at WestVet
With our pets becoming a more integral part of our families, owners want the very best medical treatment. This has led to significant advances in veterinary technology, as well as demands for more expertise and depth of knowledge in medical and surgical disciplines. As a result, veterinary specialists are needed now more than ever.
Additionally, many graduating veterinarians entering general practice find that employers require more experience and proficiency. As a result, many specialty practices have started internship programs—once only offered by veterinary schools and universities. One year internships enable recent graduates to gain valuable postgraduate training prior to entering general practice or applying to specialty residencies. It has been said that a one year rotating internship is equivalent to three years of general practice.
In 2007, WestVet accepted the challenge, responsibility, and honor of providing postgraduate education for our colleagues interested in specialization or becoming exceptional general practitioners. WestVet is the only veterinary hospital in the state of Idaho that offers postgraduate training, and is one of only four private specialty hospitals in the Northwest offering a rotating internship. We currently offer a one year rotating internship as well as one year specialty internship in surgery. Washington State University and Oregon State University offer similar programs.
WestVet interns are selected through the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) administered by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. After applications are submitted through the VIRMP website in December, applicants undergo a thorough selection and interview process by our Internship Selection Committee. Qualified applicants begin training in June of each year. Our application process ensures that each incoming intern is truly the cream of the crop—they have graduated at or near the top of their veterinary class, have outstanding recommendations from their university faculty, and many have won academic awards or scholarships from their veterinary school.
Applicants must obtain an Idaho veterinary license prior to the start date of their program. Interns are employed as WestVet veterinarians and they receive standard benefits such as medical insurance, CE, paid vacation, licensure and liability insurance.
Rotating Internship at WestVet
Our one year rotating internship program is designed to continue veterinary educational development. Interns are handpicked from a large pool of applicants every year. These applicants, as top performers in their classes at veterinary school, are actively seeking to further their education to become exceptional clinicians or to advance their careers into specialty veterinary medicine. Previous WestVet interns have been selected for specialty residencies in surgery, ophthalmology and clinical pathology.
Our interns rotate through each of our specialty services, which include medicine, surgery, pathology, ophthalmology, radiology, dermatology, emergency/critical care, and physical rehabilitation, working directly with our board certified specialists. They are required to attend daily clinical case rounds, see appointments, manage surgical and medical cases, and participate in surgery, radiology, anesthesia, and special procedures. In addition to clinical responsibilities, our interns attend monthly CE seminars and weekly educational/didactic rounds, including journal review, topic rounds, and case presentations.
Through their daily activities and weekly educational rounds, in addition to their 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week support of our specialists and emergency clinicians, these young doctors quickly outpace their classmates in knowledge base, clinical skills, and diagnostic prowess. Our specialists help guide and instruct each intern through this strenuous clinical year. We also encourage our interns to prepare a manuscript for publication.
If you are interested in applying for a rotating internship at WestVet, please find more information on the VIRMP website.
Surgical Internship at WestVet
Our one year surgical internship program is designed to aid in the application process to a surgical residency. Our goals are to enable the intern to obtain further surgical experience by strengthening their surgical knowledge base, surgical techniques, and pre and postoperative case management skills.
Applicants are selected from a large pool of highly qualified candidates. Unfortunately, the demand far exceeds the supply, currently there are approximately 100 - 120 applicants for approximately 25 - 28 surgical residencies each year. Therefore, surgical internships are becoming the norm in the long, difficult road to becoming board certified in veterinary surgery. To qualify to apply to our surgical internship, applicants must have completed a one year rotating internship or three years in general practice.
Surgical interns initially rotate through our specialty clinic in anesthesia, internal medicine and radiology. Much of the remainder of the year is spent rotating through the clinical service with our three board certified surgeons. In addition, our surgical intern also has rotations with the physical rehabilitation and pathology services. He or she is required to develop and implement a research project, and strongly encouraged to present the results at a national surgical meeting. Past surgical interns have presented their research at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Symposium and the Veterinary Orthopedic Society Conference. Additionally, it is expected this research be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
If you are interested in applying for a surgical internship with us at WestVet, you may find more information on the VIRMP website.