Rotating Internships: Taking the First Step into a Career in Critical Care and Emergency Medicine
Whether you are pursuing a residency in emergency and critical care, or you want to become an emergency veterinarian, a rotating internship is usually the first step towards achieving this goal. It is a daunting task to choose the right internship that will meet your expectations, especially for senior veterinary students dealing with the stress of clinics and getting ready to take the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE). One of the biggest questions students or veterinarians face when choosing an internship is: how do I know which internship is right for me? Prospective interns need to identify key factors that will increase the chance of becoming a strong, competitive candidate for the residency position they are looking to match to or that dream emergency job. Some of these key factors include:
Who is writing your letters of recommendation next year?
It is important to identify the level of contact with specialists that you will be working with over the first few months of your internship. Remember you only have 3-4 months to show your clinical skills and knowledge in order to obtain letters of recommendation for your next internship/residency cycle, or job application.
Besides clinical and didactic training, are there opportunities to perform research or contribute to the veterinary literature?
It is valuable for some institutions to identify resident candidates that have been exposed to clinical or benchtop research during their veterinary school or internship training. It is unrealistic to expect that an intern can complete a research project in 3 or 4 months when they are still trying to figure out how to practice veterinary medicine. But having the opportunity to collaborate in manuscript preparation of case reports, case series or retrospective studies, will enhance your chances of having a competitive resume.
Does the institution have a good record of matching interns to residency positions or ER jobs?
Doing some investigation about previous interns and their rate of matching to residency positions, or landing good emergency job opportunities, will give you a good idea of the level of commitment of that institution towards the intern’s future career goals.
Finding the right fit for your internship year is not an easy task, it is therefore recommended to take the time to visit institutions whose internship appears appealing to you and your career goals. Understanding the dynamics of the veterinary hospital where you are intending to apply for an internship may give you a good taste of what your next year will be like, and the opportunity to interact with current interns and discuss their experience in such institution.