June is the time for celebrating graduations, and late last week The Animal Medical Center celebrated the graduation of it’s 46th class of interns. Interns are recently graduated veterinarians who come to The AMC for postgraduate training beyond what is offered by the veterinary school curriculum. Interns rotate between all the specialty services The AMC has to offer, learning about optimal management of kidney disease, advanced surgical procedures and the newest chemotherapy treatments, all under the watchful eyes of The AMC staff. This mentored approach to clinical education mimics physician training.
Even though a veterinary internship is similar to one in human medicine, veterinary training differs from its human counterpart in many ways. In human medicine, internship and residency training is required for a physician to become licensed. In veterinary medicine, internships and residencies are awarded via a competitive program. Not all applicants are lucky enough to secure a position because internships and residencies are not required for licensing in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians can obtain a full license to practice following graduation by meeting the licensing criteria for their state. A love of learning motivates young veterinarians to pursue internship and residency training and many go on to become board certified veterinary specialists. Veterinary specialists focus on diagnosing and managing more difficult or perplexing cases.
There are 39 distinct specialties in veterinary medicine composed of nearly 10,000 specialists. The first specialty college was the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, founded in 1950. If your pet has had a biopsy, the biopsy was likely examined and interpreted by a member of this college. The pet owning public may be more familiar with members of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons or my college, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine which is the umbrella organization certifying Oncologists, Small and Large Animal Internists, Neurologists and Cardiologists. The Animal Medical Center has 27 board certified specialists, holding 32 specialty certifications.
Completion of an internship is usually the first step to becoming a board certified specialist since an internship is often a prerequisite to obtaining a residency. Residency training varies from specialty to specialty, but lasts 2-3 years. The hallmark of a residency is clinical experience mentored by a board certified specialist. This clinical training involves learning to perform special techniques (such as surgery), developing skills using high tech equipment (such as a linear accelerator), focusing on treating diseases in a particular species (such as birds) or focusing on treating a particular organ (such as an ophthalmologist). In addition to clinical training, the resident typically designs, executes and publishes one or more research projects, participates in structured reviews of recently published scientific articles and attends classes designed to augment the knowledge gained from clinical experience. As with almost any training program, there is a big test at the end which lasts a couple of days. Passing the examination is one of the best days in the life of a resident.
As a part of our ongoing mission, The AMC provides internships and residencies as well as critical educational services to the community, our patients and veterinary professionals the world over. Because we are a teaching hospital, The Animal Medical Center is one of the few institutions able to provide such breadth of training. And also why we offer advanced treatments that simply aren’t available anywhere else.
As our staff continues to provide one-of-a-kind educational services for the community, and as our new interns and residents take on grueling schedules and challenges, they all need support and encouragement. A good education costs money, but you can help. Please consider making a donation to support these critical services. Your help will help demonstrate support for their hard work and efforts. Click here to donate: www.amcny.org/donate.