On Saturday, May 4, the six students in the Applications of Veterinary Clinic Skills class—which is part of the veterinary technician school at Globe University-Sioux Falls—had the opportunity to collaborate with Your Pet Stop for their service-learning project. Service learning allows students to apply their knowledge obtained in the classroom to real life situations and settings.
Service learning is a key part of the education that the students receive in the veterinary technology program. According to vet tech student Kristina Reilly, “Service learning helps to better prepare me and the other technicians for the clinic setting when we will be dealing with clients and the different relationships they have with their pets on a daily basis.”
The veterinary technician students partake in several service learning projects throughout the eight quarters that it takes to complete the vet tech program. Through these projects, students get out in the community and provide needed services for animals and the people that are unable to complete some of the tasks themselves.
While at Your Pet Stop on May 4, the Applications of Veterinary Clinical Sills students provided more than 40 free nail trims and dental exams for the customers that came through the door.
“The nail trim clinic was a very beneficial experience,” said student Heather Marksbury. “We were able to learn more thorough ways for restraining difficult dogs. I think the biggest thing that I learned at this nail trim clinic was patience.”
Vet tech student Sara Lahn said, “This was a great experience and I was glad I could be so helpful to the clients. They had great attitudes and were very thankful. The upbeat atmosphere and steady flow of nail trim traffic made the day go very fast. I really had a lot of fun seeing all the dogs and people.”
While providing the free nail trims and dental checks, the students applied some of their skills that they have been taught since the first quarter of the program to the most recent quarter of the dental exams.
Not only do the students get a chance to practice their skills, but they also get a chance to work on their communication skills when talking with the customers. Many times the customers are asking the students questions as they are providing the service. The questions customers ask allow the students to apply their knowledge that they have gained in the classroom and educate the customer on what options they have. It also gives the students a chance to put their client education skills to work, which is a big part of a vet tech’s job.
“I felt I came away with a large respect for client education,” said student Rachael Nichols.
Abby Ontjes added, “This service-learning project was worth the time spent interacting with the public. I learned many valuable lessons, like how to interact with clients, how it is best to explain what was going to happen to their pet, and how to be a better vet tech.”
Jill Erickson stated, “I personally enjoyed the experience because I am always talking about how I need to get myself out there more and meet people that could become a network for me in my near-future career search—not to mention the great experience we get with working with different types of clients and different types of dogs.”
By Amy Hettinga, Veterinary Technology Instructor, Globe University-Sioux Falls