Shelter Medicine Days

February 2020 saw the start of a new clinic running at the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre. For the last 15 months we have been hosting the Nottingham Vet School students in their final year rotations. After being approached by the Shelter Medicine Society president, Anna Burrows, we agreed to set up a neutering day at the centre. Anna had been to the centre on her final year rotations so with our new facilities we designed a day to welcome 10 Nottingham Vet School students who could be from any years of their studies.

The students were given 8-10 surgeries to prepare for and perform. This also required them to calculate medication dosages, anaesthesia protocols, post-operative medication as well as examining all animals to ensure they were fit for their surgery that day. All of these tasks were performed under the close supervision of our veterinary team – Jo, our centre vet and our animal care assistants Lucy, Amber and Emma. The surgeries have included cat castrates, dog castrates and cat spays.

The students are with us for a full day which can be very busy but it is always finished off with a tour of the centre facilities and of course meeting our animals on site. This allows the students to get involved in all aspects of work as a shelter medicine vet and opened up discussions about what working for a charity can be like.

We had some excellent feedback from the students, some of which we’ve included below. We have really enjoyed having them at the centre for the day. Jo graduated from Nottingham Vet School in 2011 so has been through the course there. By providing this opportunity at the centre, the students get to be hands on from early stages of their studying which is one the course’s main aims. We are delighted to be part of this extra training for the vets of the future.

“I approached Jo during one of the final year rotations she teaching in about collaborating with Shelter Medicine Society after having the most fabulous experience. During my rotation Jo helped me complete and improve my routine neutering procedures. Her level of knowledge and practical skills are phenomenal and in the kind and caring teaching environment she created I came on leaps and bounds. Therefore, as president of Shelter Medicine Society at Nottingham Vet School I wanted to extend this opportunity to our members. As a consequence, the Shelter Medicine Neuter Clinic day was born and now 10 vet students from years 0-5 are lucky enough to go each month to RSPCA Radcliffe and get hands on experience in common neutering procedures from start to finish from the wonderful Jo and her team at Radcliffe.” Anna Burrows – Shelter Medicine President and final year student

“A really practical and fun day in which everyone enjoyed themselves and learnt a lot from the brilliant Jo.” Lily Quin- final year student

“I had such an amazing day at the RSPCA Radcliffe Neuter Clinic.  I never dreamed that I would get the opportunity to be actively involved in so much. I felt that this was a safe, supervised and encouraging environment to practice my skills and start to develop new ones. The whole team was so supportive and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to seeing clinical practice.” Alison Anderson -2nd year student

“I had a fantastic experience attending the Shelter Medicine clinic, the whole team at RSPCA Radcliffe were brilliant! The day was an invaluable insight into charity work in the veterinary profession, something I am now keen on pursuing in my own career” Joseph Hine – 4th year student

“We all had a fantastic day learning from Jo on the Shelter Medicine Neuter Clinic – giving us the perfect combination of one on one guidance whilst allowing us to independently develop our clinical and surgical skills. We also had the chance to revise our anaesthesia teaching in a practical setting and gain a greater understanding of the importance of the role of veterinary professionals within a charity setting. Overall a fab day, just wish I had time to attend another clinic before I graduate!” Meg Turner – 5th year student

“I had a brilliant experience at the shelter medicine day. Jo and the rest of the team were unbelievably patient and welcoming. No question was silly and I felt so comfortable to get involved and ask anything. I really enjoyed choosing the pre meds, calculating doses, intimating and checking the anaesthetic machine the most. And finally thank you very much!” Sophie Mae-Smith – 4th year student

We are so pleased that the students have found the days beneficial. Here is another photo of them in action – it’s great that they’re so keen to get involved!

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