Veterinary Student Externship
The Tallahassee Animal Service Center (ASC) is a regional animal shelter owned by the City of Tallahassee, which serves the surrounding community. Our facility is an open-admission facility and takes in approximately 6,000 animals annually. The veterinary team (two full-time veterinarians and two full-time veterinary technicians) deals with the issues of overpopulation, stray and abandoned animals, population medicine (over 200 animals on-site daily), and animal neglect on a daily basis. The staff veterinarians and veterinary technicians assess and treat all sick and injured animals that enter the facility. In addition to the urgent and emergent medical care provided to the animals, the veterinary team is responsible for surgical sterilization of all adoptable animals. The Animal Care Specialists assess all animals to determine if they are suitable for adoption and/or foster placement. If an animal is selected for adoption or foster, the animal is tested for heartworm (dogs) or FeLV/FIV (cats), vaccinated, dewormed and scheduled for surgical sterilization. Surgery is performed on-site in our new surgical suite. Surgery is generally performed 6 days a week, depending on the number of animals needing surgery.
The primary purpose of the externship is to expose veterinary students to the many aspects of shelter medicine. Major objectives are to acquaint veterinary students with:
- Disease prevention and control principles for animal shelter populations
- The interaction of public policy and domestic animal health
- High volume spay/neuter practices
Externs will be involved in animal diagnostics, treatment and surgery, shelter policy and procedure development, and community outreach activities as they arise during the time of the externship. Due to the nature of shelter medicine, the exact activities will vary by season and ongoing activities; however, approximately 50% of the extern's time will be spent in surgery assisting and/or performing routine spays and neuters. We work closely with the City of Tallahassee Animal Control and the Leon County Animal Control. Student externs will have the option of spending time in the field with Animal Control Officers.
Length of the externship is flexible, between 2 and 12 weeks. Externs are expected to work 40 hours per week with the Veterinary Team. Our normal work schedule is 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (with a one-hour lunch break), Monday through Friday. Typically externs will have their weekends free to sight-see and relax; however, weekend hours may be scheduled to assist with fund-raising, community service and humane education projects. Professional attire is expected when involved in community outreach, and scrubs should be worn for all other activities. Comfortable, close-toed shoes are a must.
Housing is typically not provided. However, with enough notice, we may be able to arrange housing with one of our staff members.
Eligibility for the Externship
Third- and fourth-year veterinary students in good academic standing from an AVMA accredited college of veterinary medicine are eligible for the externship. At present, it is difficult to accommodate more than 2 persons simultaneously unless prior arrangements have been made. Students with the best qualifications, as demonstrated by resume and academic standing, will be chosen for a given time period.
How to Apply
Students should apply by letter or email to the director of the externship program. When applying, include a completed Externship Program Application (PDF), a letter of intent and a general resume/curriculum vitae. The applicant also should have a letter sent from the academic dean at his/her college indicating the student will be enrolled in an accredited veterinary program at the time of the externship. Externship programs should be arranged at least 2 months in advance of the starting date. Each participant must have his/her own health insurance and liability insurance. Student policies may be obtained through the AVMA PLIT for a small fee.
Evaluation of the Extern
Formal tests will not be given. The director of the externship, in consultation with the veterinary team and other ASC staff, will evaluate the extern in the format provided by the veterinary college of origin. Strong consideration will be given to work participation, demonstration of academic capability, development of new knowledge, skills, and abilities, and on the ability of the student to project a professional image.
For more information please contact the program director:
Rachel Barton, DVM
TEL: (850) 891-2980