Eight Weeks of Mentoring

When BreAnna McCartan, a second-year veterinary medicine student, signed up for an eight-week mentorship program at Iowa Veterinary Specialties (IVS) in Des Moines, she was anxious to work in a new clinical environment.

She was also hopeful to gain additional technical skills that would assist her as she moved forward over the next three years of veterinary studies.

What she got out of the program exceeded her wildest expectations.

“I never dreamed that scrubbing in for surgery would be a part of this experience,” McCartan said. “I saw two procedures that I have never seen performed before, all while getting an up close look by assisting with holding the patients’ limb in place during the surgery.”

McCartan was one of eight Iowa State second-year students who participated in the mentorship program this past summer at IVS, a College of Veterinary Medicine affiliated emergency and specialty clinic in Des Moines. And McCartan wasn’t the only student to enjoy the experience.

“I had not had much hands-on clinical experience before entering veterinary school,” said Natalie Hendriksen. “I loved the idea of getting to do that and getting mentorship from doctors throughout the rotations.

“Getting to see how doctors work up cases, talk to clients, and also see how they come up with different treatment plans was a great experience.”

The eight students did two-week rotations throughout the summer program in pairs of twos. Each group kept the same rotation schedule, starting with overnights, internal medicine, surgery, and daytime emergency.

The opportunity to see how another emergency and specialty hospital operated intrigued Yaquelin Mijangos. The Los Angeles native had previously worked in a large and busy ER hospital in her hometown.

“I completely fell in love with the fast pace and urgency that came with working emergency veterinary medicine,” Mijangos said. “My summer experience at IVS helped confirm my passion for emergency medicine.”

It also gave the second-year student additional training in ultrasounds.

“At the beginning of the summer I was not confident in ultrasound but after spending a few shifts with Dr. (Shelby) Mangus, I am now able to discern more information from the images that I see on the screen.

“She was an incredible mentor and encouraged us to learn more about ultrasound since it can help provide you with a plethora of information.”

McCartan agreed with her classmate.

“All of the doctors and technicians have been amazing at teaching and walking me through each procedure,” McCartan said. “I have learned so much, not only for the next three years of school, but in technical skills as well.”

July 2022