Now in its seventh year, the two-week placement program provides expert RSPCA mentorship and hands-on experience for UQ students advancing through their final year clinical rotations in small animal medicine and surgery. Student season is upon us, and as our Wacol hospital hums with the activity of soon-to-be veterinarians in their trademark maroon scrubs, it’s clear that the vital signs of the collaboration are still going strong.
UQ’s Senior Veterinarian and Clinical Academic, Dr John Mallyon, is the revered supervisor and team leader for the Wacol rotation and heartily attests to the program as one that greatly profits student learning by design, while in function has evolved to become an indispensable source of clinical and hands-on support for the RSPCA. The students perform as junior clinicians, gaining excellent face-to-face consultation experience with fostering and adoptive pet owners while providing quality veterinary care to domestic animals of many unique circumstances and health needs.
“What they’re aiming to do is improve their ‘day one’ competency skills,” says Dr Mallyon of how the students use their placements to prepare for their first solo steps into the professional field.
Irene Jeumin Kong, Allen Chang and Shirley Ngan are among the graduating cohort of 2020 and embrace the opportunity to both give and gain as they learn from Dr Mallyon and the RSPCA’s team of experienced clinical staff. Working with medical profiles that are distinct within shelters and among animals with histories of abuse and abandonment certainly advantages their training, but they’re all in agreeance that it’s what they’re giving back that brings the greatest reward.
‘We do the best we can to help out, you know, just share the load,’ says Allen of supporting the RSPCA with their hospitalised animals while also building a sense of independence and responsibility for the cases and their carers.
Likewise, both Irene and Shirley feel grateful to benefit from worthy experiences in surgery, diagnoses and treatment, and believe that helping disadvantaged animals within an organisation that is built on the goodwill and voluntary help of others is a unique and affirming aspect of their RSPCA placements.
With a mixture of nervousness and excitement for their veterinary futures, our UQ student guests hope there will be many more opportunities to work with the RSPCA and the countless animals they help rescue, rehabilitate and rehome within our communities.
We wish them the very best with their veterinary endeavours and look forward to the enduring success of a partnership that continues to prove its worth.