One of my Vet School readers, Francesca Barker, attended the recent Royal Veterinary College Open Day at their Hawkshead Campus and kindly offered to provide a guest post on her experiences of the day. Thanks Francesca 🙂
“On Saturday 12th May I travelled down, full of anticipation, to Hertfordshire, to attend the Royal Veterinary College open day at its Hawkshead Campus. This would be where a vet student spends their clinical years; pre-clinical years are spent in Camden. On arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by how the campus appeared, much more modernised than I expected and situated in a breathtakingly open, rural area.
Tours of the campus were being conducted throughout the day by current veterinary students. I visited the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, which is a small animal referral unit; it was certainly very impressive and students spend some time there when undertaking clinical rotations. After that, we looked around the equine unit which had all the latest equipment such as MRI and CT scanners.
I visited the Structure and Motion Lab which is where research is conducted by PHD students. Whilst, vet students don’t routinely use the facility I was made aware that it can be used if a student opts to explore this field of veterinary science in their research project. This facility contained equipment which had been used by anything from snails, to cheetahs. Also, in the lab was a comparative foot biomechanics exhibition which displayed an elephant’s foot and a horse’s hoof. It was set up to demonstrate how the animals have such differently structured feet and yet both are prone to similar problems such as lameness.
Finally, I paid a visit to the Clinical Skills Lab. This facility is where vet students practice important skills such as suturing and bandaging, in their third and fourth years. I was told that expert staff are on hand to help with any aspect of clinical skills that a student may be struggling with, which is definitely reassuring. Whilst there, I used a motion sensor haptic cow. This is used to simulate palpitating a cow’s reproductive tract which is necessary to diagnose pregnancy.
All in all I was extremely impressed with the facilities, location and calming atmosphere of the campus. The campus is composed purely of students who are studying something veterinary related, meaning you are constantly absorbing all things veterinary, which is a definite advantage, although some may see it as a drawback. The weather was surprisingly pleasant, but even in the event of a torrential downpour I would have still thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I would certainly recommend any prospective veterinary medicine student to consider applying there, even if it is just to use the haptic cow!
Francesca Barker, Year 12 student at Greenhead College”