Life as an intern (Part 2): There is no such thing as a typical day

Having spoken about the ups and downs of an internship year in part one of this series, our surgery intern Laura was kind enough to take us through what her work entails. It´s pretty clear that there is no such thing as a typical day for an intern…but here is the closest thing!


I arrive in the morning (usually after some lazy yoga in my living room, or if I have a burst of energy I´ll attempt some weights at the gym). I receive patient hand over from the emergency vets who were looking after our patients overnight as well as any new patients who arrived overnight and require surgical assessment.

We have morning rounds with vets from each department in the hospital and we discuss our in-patients and how they are being managed – this is an opportunity to show off our fancy fracture repairs and also receive advice from medicine, oncology or emergency vets on non-surgical aspects of our cases. For me, rounds is also breakfast and third coffee time.

We then jump head first into our inevitably busy day with optimism and energy – we start our morning assessments of all our patients and make phone calls to owners to update them on their fur babies´ progress.


Morning consultations start. As an intern I commence the consult, take a history and examine the patient. I will formulate a suspected diagnosis and then track down the surgeon to explain my findings. The surgeon will then examine the patient and explain his interpretation to the owner while I silently celebrate or cry depending on the accuracy of my diagnosis.


After consults we are usually rushing to get into theatre; the best part of the day. My aim is to learn as much as possible about the procedure, whilst draping the surgical site correctly, trying to be helpful, not forgetting any instruments, attempting not to drop anything, break sterility or hit my head on the light handles (I am approximately two feet taller than all three of the surgeons).

Somewhere between 4pm and 10pm

By the time all the surgeries are completed it may be anywhere between 4pm to 10pm…or 12, 1, 2, 3am, depending on the emergency procedures that walk in the door. In the afternoon we also have recheck appointments and we need to make sure our patients have recovered smoothly and have charts ready for the overnight vets. Then we write all our records, surgery reports and discharge instructions for the day. Throughout the day we make time to consume an excess of (usually unhealthy) snacks, thanks to our appreciative clients, manager and our special overnight vet who without fail brings 5pm chips every time she works. We love Sarah.

Home time

At the end of the day I’m usually rather tired and hungry and am very lucky to have an amazing partner who cooks for me almost every night.

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