Veterinary internships in the media crosshairs

Published on January 19, 2017
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veterinarians-hawk-blog300x300-3Today, Newsweek published an article, “Veterinary interns speak out against exploitation,” that portrays the negative aspects of veterinary internships. The scenarios presented were worst-case situations which, if accurately described, were unacceptable. But we caution our members and the public against using these examples as representative of all internships.

AVMA research has found no relationship between completing an internship, by itself, and increased lifelong earnings for a veterinarian entering clinical practice. However, our colleagues with positive internship experiences are quick to point out the knowledge, clinical competence, and confidence they gained from their internships. In addition, board certification and some advanced degrees that require an internship may be a new veterinarian’s first stepping stone on a clear path to professional advancement and greater financial earnings.

If your clinic offers internships, this media attention urges you to evaluate your program to ensure that it meets your interns’ needs, as well as those of your practice. Check your program against the guidelines and our disclosure outline, and make changes to improve your program if needed. Seek constructive feedback from past and current interns, and use it to guide your efforts in shaping the future of your colleagues’ careers.

We encourage prospective interns to thoroughly evaluate their opportunities to determine the right fit for them both personally and professionally. An internship is, fundamentally, a job in the veterinary profession, and should be considered as deliberately as any other career position. Check out our veterinary internship resources for more information and guidance to help you make the right choices for yourself.

We’d like to hear about your experiences. Without naming clinics, schools or specific people, what were your internship experiences – either as an intern, or in offering internships? What constructive advice would you share?

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