Feet in the Door: These Vet Tech Students Gain Experience, Preparation in College

vet tech program

CVT Review Students

I recently sat down with several students in our vet tech program at Globe University-Sioux Falls to ask them about their college experience. These students are enrolled in the Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) Review class and in their final quarter of college. The CVT Review course helps students study and prepare for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).  Most vet tech students take this course in conjunction with their externship.

This quarter the following vet tech students are completing their externships:

  • Audrey Cushing is at the Freeman Veterinary Clinic
  • Amanda Dissing is at the Dale Animal Hospital
  • Dana Hannahs is at the Cedar Valley Veterinary Services
  • Laura Hollaren is at the Rock Veterinary Clinic
  • Amanda Lentini is at the Interstate Veterinary Clinic
  • Cary Paul is at the Montrose Veterinary Clinic
  • Zach Sangster is at Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Sioux Falls
  • Sarah Spomer is at the Companion Animal Clinic in Canton
  • Jacquelyn Stone is at the Tea Veterinary Clinic

The externship is a unique experience that gives students an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills in an actual veterinary setting, through externship arrangements with area clinics. Each student is supervised by the veterinary technology program chair and by a designated extern site supervisor. This clinical rotation is an unpaid position as it is an extension of the students’ classroom training.  It’s hard to put a true value on the experiences these students gain on externship.  According to Ann Kolbrek, director of career services, students who want to make the most out of their experience should do the following:

  • Listen carefully and take notes.
  • Ask questions and don’t be afraid to speak up.
  • Take initiative to do tasks without being asked.
  • Be willing to take direction and constructive criticism—they are the experts and only trying to help you as much as possible.
  • Meet your coworkers—and while doing so, try to pick out a mentor.
  • Be positive.

These are the final steps toward graduation and employment in the field they have worked so hard to achieve.  It’s a fun but hard class.  It remains a delicate balancing act for most students who are externing at a site, working part time and studying for their national board—and then there’s life outside of all that.  As I talked with them, the students beamed with excitement as they could see the light at the end of the tunnel—graduation, then the VNTE, and finally a job!  I asked them what they have enjoyed about their experience here at Globe University-Sioux Falls. Here’s what they said:

                “I loved the hands-on experience I was able to receive at Globe University, including kennel duty, which taught me the importance of good housekeeping in the clinic environment. The instructors I had for many of my core classes at Globe University were very knowledgeable, willing to help, while pushing myself and the other students to learn more and become better.  At my internship, I really enjoy all of the experience I am gaining with equine patients. The veterinarian, technicians and office staff continually give me good advice, and I have gained a lot of confidence in large animal medicine since starting there just a few short weeks ago. Dr. Lias asks me lots of questions and gives me laboratory work to do often, and I enjoy the challenge that this provides. I love seeing other doctors’ and technicians’ perspectives as well and learning new ways to do different procedures that I wasn’t able to experience during my courses at the school. It is wonderful to use the skills that I learned at Globe University, and continue to learn new ones as well. I also enjoy working with the different clients and hearing all of their stories about how they got into the horse business. In the future, I am excited to simply be looking for a job working with animals in general, as that has always been my dream. I know now that my true passion lies with equine medicine, but I find that I get excited to work with the small animals as well when they come into the clinic. My biggest goal for the next few years is to find a clinic with both large and small animals, and learn as much as I can.” ~ Amanda Lentini

                “The most enjoyable part that I found about the program was that everyone is so willing to help with any problems or concerns that arose the entire two years I have been at this school. Everybody from the faculty to the students all the way to people who I never even have to come in contact with—they are all so helpful.  As far as my externship goes, I absolutely love it; everything I do on a day-to-day basis is extremely exciting.  I feel like I’m actually prepared for everything that is sure to come my way in the future after my externship is finished and I’m hopefully happily employed.  To sum it all up, I’m happy with what I’ve learned here and feel prepared to go out into the real world and make it somewhere.” ~ Zach Sangster

                “The thing that I really like at Globe University is how much the teachers care about their students and their success. They will work with you outside of class time if you need help better understanding something or want more practice time with the comps.  They also are able to give real world examples of the things that they are teaching; it is really helpful for better understanding how to and what to do in different situations. I absolutely love Rock County Veterinary Clinic; that is where I am doing my externship. Everyone there is so nice and helpful. It’s a mixed animal practice so I get to see and do all different types of things. One day it might be just small animals that I deal with and the next day it might all large animals, and then there are the fun and very interesting days where I get work with both. We also do farm calls so I get the chance to get out of the clinic and see how veterinarians work and handle things outside of the clinic setting. After graduation I look forward to hopefully working at the clinic.”  ~ Laura Hollaren

                “What I really like about Globe is that all the staff and faculty is always friendly and open and  most of all willing to help out in any way possible. I have gone through a lot recently and I am very grateful for all that the instructors have done to help me along the way! With my externship, I am excited to get myself out there and meet new people and really start to set my skills in stone. My future could hold anything at this point, but my hope is that I can find a job I love while being able to stay in our home. Also, I hope that I can continue to learn new and useful things throughout my career!”  ~ Jill Erickson

                “I have had a great experience taking classes at Globe University.  So far my externship is going really well.  It is such a fun experience for me being in the clinic setting.  I have gotten to see many different things already and it is only the beginning of the fourth week.  Since we had such bad weather this spring there were a couple days where no other techs came to work except for  me so I got to do everything!  I am sure things will continue to go well there and can’t wait to graduate!”  ~ Sarah Spomer

                “I really did enjoy going to school at Globe. One of the things I liked most was the small class sizes. It gave me the chance to not only form relationships with my friends, but also my teachers. I like the fact that my teachers know me on a personal level, so they know how I learn things best. I absolutely love my externship. I was very nervous before starting it, but who wouldn’t be. What I like most about my externship are the people I work with. I feel that everyone I work with is very patient with me, and they let me have as much hands-on experience that I can get, which is what I am there for. I am most definitely looking forward to my future as a veterinary technician. I hope to stay in the Sioux Falls area for now, and hopefully get a job from the Tea Vet Clinic where I’m externing. I am looking forward to a future of going to work and loving  my job, and actually wanting to be there. Someday I hope to work at a zoo or an aquarium. Whatever the future holds, I know I chose the right field and I’m proud to be a veterinary technician.” ~ Jacquelyn Stone

Best of luck to all of our soon-to-be vet tech grads!

By Angie Seiler, CVT and Full-Time Vet Tech Faculty Member, Globe University-Sioux Falls