Medicine resident responsibilities consist of clinical assignments which include patient care, participation in the clinical teaching of senior veterinary students, participation in lectures and laboratories for underclassmen, participation in the resident lecture series, and possible participation in selected continuing education courses. Responsibilities also include rotating night and weekend emergency duty (this is shared by all of the small animal residents) as well as providing Medicine backup assistance to the other house officers on emergency duty. Third year residents have reduced emergency responsibilities. Medicine residents are required to:
The resident will be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of internal medicine cases under direct faculty supervision and will be responsible to the faculty member with whom he/she is rotating on the medicine service. The resident will be “the clinician of record” on all cases he/she receives and will assume the responsibilities of the attending veterinarian. Residents are expected to consult with their on-duty faculty clinician whenever questions arise. In this way, the resident will be afforded optimal responsibility and will, at the same time, receive continuous feedback on their diagnostic, clinical teaching, and communication skills.
Each resident has numerous interactions with veterinary students and should realize that they are role models for these students. Professional attire and language, and appropriate interactions with referring veterinarians are expected. Residents must also take care never to use denigrating or insulting language when referring to other veterinarians or to students (within the hospital or a public place). Residents should refer to each other and other veterinarians as “Doctor” while in the hospital and should instruct the students to do the same.
The vast majority of cases seen in small animal internal medicine are referrals from veterinarians in Iowa and surrounding states. Communication with the referring veterinarian must be made in a timely and professional manner. The referral population provides cases for teaching, professional development, and hospital income.
There are numerous requests for telephone consultations from the referring veterinarians. These interactions are very important to the University in that they offer a possibility for referral and as a source of public relations. They also serve as a learning tool for residents. Most calls are from Iowa and the surrounding states. All calls should be returned within 24 hours. If a call is returned and a veterinarian is not available, make sure to leave a message and document on the phone message the date and time you returned the call. Some receptionists will ask you to call again at a specific time. It is generally best to tell them that your schedule is unpredictable and it is better to have the referring veterinarian return your call.
Remember that you cannot diagnose over the telephone. Preface your advice with phrases like “From what you are telling me, I would consider...” or “If I understand you correctly, you might want to....” Keep a record of your telephone consultations with notes you make, for 12 months. This is for the possibility of needing legal documentation, and also in case the patient comes in on referral.
There may be some instances where practitioners want an entire continuing education course. There is not enough time to do this. In those cases, offer to mail or fax them a review article or send a list of references on the subject.
It is required that all telephone consultations will be performed with the same professionalism as all other collegial interactions.