The vanishing year… And the state exams…

Vet student on the farm

It is Easter, for me that mean I have a couple of extra days in surgery as there are no classes on the schedule. However it is Easter so that means no scheduled surgeries so I am hoping for some emergencies – bad for the animal and owners – however providing much needed experience and practice for me.

In fact every single patient I see teaches me something new, this in turn will hopefully make me a better vet when I graduate in 15 months’ time. That is something that now it is so close I am very aware off. Seeing patients allows me to identify the gaps in my knowledge, plus for me seeing something outside of a textbook lets me understand something a whole lot easier.

Something else I am aware of is that I will soon be starting my state exams – these are oral exams in front of a panel and open to the public. There are six total, I have two this semester, and then four starting next January. These exams are the ones that count – and will qualify me to become a veterinary surgeon.

These exams are generally done on a species by species basis, with topics including exotics, ruminants, pigs, swine, small animals and horses. There is also a relatively random one with contagious diseases, legislation and protection of the environment.

My first state exam will be on the 13th June with the focus on birds, exotics, and wildlife.

The second state exam for me will be on 6th July with the focus on contagious diseases, protection of the environment and veterinary legislation.

I am a little nervous for these two exams, there is so much to know and it is just over 2 months until my first one. The first one is clinical medicine – so I am not too stressed about this exam, my clinical knowledge is pretty good and a lot of it is logical.

The second one however is stressing me more as it is basically a test of memory – and I absolutely hate (and henceforth suck at) memorising lists. Albert Einstein famously said “Never memorize something that you can look up.” –being honest I kind of agree. The stuff that is common in clinical practice is remembered over time from repetition – however this test is all about what I can remember.

Now however I am starting my preparation for these exams with a topic a day. With my lapse in keeping my diary updated (it takes so much longer than you’d think to write a diary post!) I’ve decided I will use this to reinforce my study for that day by writing a summary of that topic for you all.

Passing Pharmacology and my thoughts on memorising stuff… (Day 637)

Veterinary Pharmacology Revision Tips

Todays Diary Entry is sponsored by Online Pet Education

So today I sat my veterinary pharmacology final exam, this is one of those subjects where you can choose whether to memorize loads of stuff, or understand some. In my case I choose to learn from wise people, and I believe it was Einstein that said “Never memorize something that you can look up.”. So in my case I chose to understand, because when you understand something you can use it to your advantage.

Now when it comes to pharmacology it is a massive rapidly evolving field, there is always research into what dose of a drug is best, or even what drug to use. However there are some static variables – for example the drug receptor sites within the body, and the action that occurs from these sites. This was something that was only touched on briefly during the course with the types of receptors – it did not include where they were which is something additional that I chose to memorize. By doing this I know that if a drug binds to x receptor than it will cause y to happen to the digestive tract, but that it also affects the eyes, or the brain, or the heart or lungs. This is something I considered useful.

Also I know that sometimes it is not possible to look up drug dosages as you simply won’t have time such as in emergencies… These are drugs that I memorised the emergency dosages for in the patients that I work with. But even this is not always necessary for things like anaesthesia as most vets will also calculate the dosages for emergency drugs before they start the procedure.

So today I passed pharmacology with an E (around 57%) as I chose not to memorize every drug under the sun (after all I will learn the most common ones as I use them). I don’t think this makes me a bad vet student, I think by understanding I will be a better student, and so I am happy to take my E, and next time I need to know a drug I don’t know, to look up the latest information on it!

Official residency, and the lighting of the Christmas tree… (Day 86)

Christmas Lights tuned on at Hlavna in Kosice Slovakia

Something that still strikes me about Slovakia is the different culture, people are so happy here and this evening I went to see the lighting of the Christmas lights in town. The entire main street (Hlavna) has been transformed into a Christmas market, there are then more smaller markets scattered around the different squares in town. Something very popular here is hot wine with cloves and cinnamon which is available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.

Anyways this afternoon started with a trip to town to get some textbooks that are not available to buy printed up from old scans. These books are pretty much essential as they have the latin names for all the anatomy that I need to learn for my final exams in the next month. I then made a trip to the police station to pick up my residency permit which was interesting as my Slovak still isn’t great however I was lucky to have one of the staff from the Foreign office to translate. Now I am until 2017 officially a resident of Slovakia (YAY!) with a shiney new card to prove it 🙂

I then went to get an haircut which was an experience, the person cutting my hair could not speak english, shaver grades are measured in millimeters here instead of the numbered grade that is used back in the UK. With a little help from Google Translate I did leave looking semi-respectable again and with much colder ears than previously!

Christmas Lights tuned on at Hlavna in Kosice Slovakia
Christmas lights being turned on

Now this evening the Christmas lights in town both on the Christmas tree and on the lamposts were all turned on. In addition there was also a free rock concert which I believe is also staying for the next few days as well! Anyways after a good evening I need to get back to learning my anatomy for tommorow, its the Abdominal and the Respiratory muscles this week in addition to the diaphragm.