Veterinary Technology students hard at work in summer externships


Summer externships are underway for the second-year students in Murray State College’s Veterinary Technology Program. The eleven students are working throughout the area, getting hands-on training in their new careers. The externship is an 8 week-long program that is designed to give the students real-world experience before they head out into the workforce. It is also a requirement for graduation of the program.

“Clinical externship is the culmination of a student’s Veterinary Technician education,” says Debbie Reed, Registered Veterinary Technician and Co-Director of the Murray State College Veterinary Technology Program. “It is the training ground where students are challenged to integrate all aspects of their education. This phase of training offers students the excitement and responsibility of applying the knowledge and skills they have learned.”

The students are working in clinics in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Kentucky. Snyder, Oklahoma native Cara Calvert is spending her externship in Altus, Oklahoma at the All Pets Medical Center. She says she always knew growing up that she wanted to take care of animals.

“I was raised around animals my whole life,” says Calvert. “So understanding them and taking care of them is like second nature to me. When I got accepted to Murray State it was like a dream came true and everything worked out perfectly.”

Kaitlyn Pletcher (center) assists with a dental procedure on a squirrel monkey named “Zula” at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita.. Others in the photo include Dr. Doug Winter, board certified specialist in veterinary oral surgery and dentistry (left), and Stefanie Kinney, CVT, veterinary technician (right)Kaitlyn Pletcher, from Colwich, Kansas, is working at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. Under the guidance of Dr. Sandy Wilson and the zoo staff, Pletcher is getting hands on training in the care and handling of animals. Dr. Wilson says Pletcher is doing well in her externship.

“She is well –prepared, professional at all times, and a pleasure to work with,” says Dr. Wilson. “She enjoys the variety of experiences provided by the zoo environment, and meets the challenges presented to her with a level of confidence appropriate for a new graduate. Her ability to get along well and learn from all members of the staff will help her be successful as a veterinary technician.”

Calvert also credits her instructors at Murray State College as big factors in her journey to her new career. She says the lessons she learned at MSC went beyond the technical skills such as drawing blood, running laboratory tests and talking to clients.

“The personal lessons that they have taught me are the things that are going to help me succeed,” says Calvert. “They taught me how to love my career choice through the good and bad and more importantly, how to believe in myself. Without these things I would have never made it as far as I have. I can't say enough good things about my instructors. They are hands down the best in the business.”

Dr. Shannon Martin supervises Halli Keeling at the Atoka Veterinary Clinic she says that Keeling is doing a good job.

“The Veterinary Technician program has done an excellent job of giving her the skills and knowledge to be a good veterinary technician,” says Dr. Martin. “She is caring and compassionate with the animals. She walks in every day with a smile on her face and a good attitude and we are very proud of her and the Veterinary Technician Program at Murray State College.”

The students and their externship locations are: Kristen Baker from Sulphur, Oklahoma- Ada Veterinary Clinic in Ada, Oklahoma; Cara Calvert from Jones, Oklahoma – All Pets Medical Center in Altus, Oklahoma; Codi Critchlow from Rattan, Oklahoma – Boswell Animal Kare in Boswell, Oklahoma; Rebecca Daniel from Foster, Oklahoma – Equine Medical Associates in Lexington, Kentucky; Johnna DeFoor from Wilson, Oklahoma – Ardmore Animal Hospital in Ardmore, Oklahoma; Halli Keeling from Tupelo, Oklahoma – Atoka Veterinary Clinic in Atoka, Oklahoma; Jillian Morris from Marlow, Oklahoma – Osage Animal Hospital in Duncan, Oklahoma; Kaitlyn Pletcher from Colwich, Kansas – Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas; Dena Reynolds from Sherman, Texas – Best Friends Animal Hospital in Denison, Texas; Taylor Smith from Ada, Oklahoma – Animal Health Services in Ada, Oklahoma; and Dawn Tarves from Stratford, Oklahoma – Walnut Creek Veterinary Clinic in Purcell, Oklahoma.

The externships end on July 11.

Find out more about the MSC Veterinary Technology Program here.

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