Veterinary Student Externship Program
We offer an externship program to veterinary students in their third and/or fourth year of veterinary school.
Two-week maximum externships are available throughout the year, at both of our locations — in Menlo Park and Salinas, California. Four-week externships may be available during the period from November through May. Space is limited and filled well in advance, so we recommend applying as early as possible.
What Our Externs Should Expect
Our externship program gives students exposure to a balance of medical, surgical and ambulatory practice. Our externs generally rotate through each area of the practice, however students may request an emphasis on one particular area.
In addition to participation during our regular weekday clinic hours, our externs are expected to participate in morning rounds and staff meetings, assisting our interns and technicians with daily early morning and evening treatments, and emergency after-hour and weekend duties.
You will be visiting primarily to observe. You will be involved as appropriate, but hands-on work is not guaranteed. Your level of participation will be based upon your skill set and year in veterinary school. Where appropriate, you may be asked to administer some medications under the direct supervision of a doctor or technician.
Additional hospital responsibilities may include but not be limited to: running blood work (CBC, PCV/TP, chemistry, etc.), keeping horses clean (brushing, fly spraying, etc.), and helping with the maintenance, stocking, and overall cleanliness of the clinic.
For veterinary students interested in participating in our internship program after graduation, we strongly recommend participating in at least a one-week externship to spend time working with each of our associate veterinarians. Each of the veterinarians in the practice, including our current interns, vote for internship selection.
Our externs must have completed their second year of veterinary school and have basic horse handling experience.
Proof of liability insurance is required. If your school or country does not provide externship liability insurance coverage and you are a member of the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), we can send in an AVMA-PLIT (student coverage) application for you. We will need to send you the form to fill out, which requires your AVMA membership number.
Proof of personal health insurance coverage is also required.
If you are accepted to our externship program, we will send you a release form that you must complete and return before your visit.
You will be assigned a veterinarian or staff technician who will coordinate your participation in the daily schedule. Our facilities are open 7-days per week, 24-hours per day. You are expected to participate daily during your stay. If you are visiting over weekends, you are expected to help and assist interns and on-call veterinarians unless prior arrangements with the coordinator have been made. If you are visiting for school credits or interested in our post-graduate internship program, it is strongly recommended that you actively participate on weekends and during night treatments. Depending on case load, we try to give our externs some down time during weekends, but this is not guaranteed.
There is an Extern Manual in the student housing area with detailed information. Extern guidelines include but are not limited to:
Surgery: You are welcome to observe in surgery and, based on the case, you may be asked to scrub in. For liability reasons, you can observe induction/recovery, but you will not be allowed to participate. While in surgery, be sure to position yourself where you will not be in the way of the surgical team. Avoid the sterile table, patient drapes, and surgeons while they are sterile.
Outpatients: You will be expected to assist the technicians with set-up of the equipment prior to arrival of the patient and to help with procedures, as needed. We ask that you please participate in the clean-up effort during and after the procedure.
Field Cases: You will be assigned to ambulatory calls throughout your stay. Please let your coordinator know if there is a call scheduled that you would particularly be interested in attending. Please be available to leave just prior to the appointment, as the doctor may not have time to search for you if you are not close by.
Client Interaction: Please have respect for our clients and patients. Do not speak in a derogatory manner about clients or patients, either in the clinic or in any public place, and please respect their privacy. You are encouraged to interact with the clients, however, please be mindful of the following:
Avoid talking about a horse’s medical condition or treatments with a client. This is the responsibility of the attending veterinarian and staff. If a client asks you a question about a patient, it's okay to say, "I am a veterinary student extern, so you'll need to ask the attending veterinarian or a member of the staff about that. I will let them know you have questions or concerns."
We have a strict confidentiality policy, so please avoid talking about other patients either directly to clients or when clients are present.
Please be mindful of appropriate and inappropriate times to ask questions. We are happy to explain and answer any questions you may have, however, please do not ask in front of clients or when the attending veterinarian and staff are busy.
How to Apply for Our Externship Program
We accept externs on a first come, first served basis, and our extern slots do fill up well in advance. To apply, please email Analynn Patterson... and include the following information:
Your name, phone number and mailing address
Name of the veterinary school you are attending and your scheduled graduation date
Who to notify in case of emergency during your stay
Any medical conditions we should be aware of (such as allergies)
Many students also elect to email their resumes for us to keep on file. This is especially helpful if you plan to apply for our post-graduate Intern program.
Please let us know ahead of time when you plan to arrive. We ask you to respect our employee’s schedules and plan to arrive between 8am and 8pm. If you arrive on the weekend or after working hours:
In Salinas — Call our answering service at (831) 455-1808 and have the intern-on-call paged.
In Menlo Park — Call our office phone at (650) 854-3162 and press “0” to be connected with the on-call veterinarian who will put you in touch with one of our interns.
Travel and Transportation
You will need to arrange your own transportation to and from the airport, train or bus station. A variety of local airport shuttles and other ground transportation options can be found on airport websites.
Salinas — The nearest airports to our Salinas facility are San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Monterey Airport (MRY). There is an Amtrak station in Salinas (SNS), as well as a Greyhound bus station.
Menlo Park — Menlo Park is equidistant from San Francisco and San Jose, accessible via the San Jose International Airport (SJC), the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), or the San Jose Diridon Amtrak station (SJC) or San Jose Diridon Greyhound station.
During Your Stay: There's a small shopping center with a 7-11 and a couple of restaurants within walking distance of our Salinas Facility; the nearest shopping and restaurants to our Menlo Park facility are approximately 1-2 miles away, but the route is not walkable. We do not have an extra vehicle available for extern use, so please plan accordingly if you want a car during your stay.
On-site housing is available for our externs. Bedding and towels are available if needed, and hospital washing machines are available when not in use. Please ensure you wash used sheets and towels before you leave. Please keep your food in the designated fridge, which is also used by the staff. There is also a microwave and coffee machine available for your use. Please keep all areas clean and picked up at all times and clean up dishes, microwave, fridge and sink when you are done eating. Please clean out all perishable food before leaving.
Please wear clean, suitable work clothes. Our staff members typically wear khaki pants and collared shirts; clean jeans or other long pants are acceptable. We ask that tank tops, tee shirts, bare mid-riffs and shorts be avoided. Our hospitals provide scrubs for surgery. Sturdy shoes should be worn to protect feet — sandals and open toed shoes are not permitted around the horses. Though we are in California, the weather is very unpredictable. Be sure to bring clothing for cold fog or wind as well as light material and sun screen for hot days.