Seven Linnaeus-owned referral hospitals took part in a centralised internship education programme in 2021, with interns accessing a wider range of training, support and clinical research opportunities across the company. This included professional skills training, well-being support, a career development workshop and one-to-one mentoring.
In 2022 there will be a further focus on clinical research, with interns able to attend a year-long research skills course. The number of referral hospitals involved in the centralised training has also increased. All 11 Linnaeus-owned hospitals with rotating intern programmes are taking part in 2022, taking the number of participating interns from 48 in 2021 to 79 in 2022.
Interns at Linnaeus are encouraged to publish in a peer-reviewed journal and present at global conferences. Support is available with study design, ethics application, statistical analysis, manuscript preparation and open access publication fees. More than 80 percent of interns at Linnaeus have said that clinical research was a high priority in their internship, demonstrating its value to the programme.
Luisa De Risio, clinical research and excellence director at Linnaeus, said: “By introducing a research skills course from February 2022, we are providing consistency, structure and best practice for our rotating internships at Linnaeus. This not only helps the intern to reach their full potential – their work can also drive innovation and quality care across the veterinary sector.
“Linnaeus has a strong track record in research outputs, with more than 500 research projects undertaken in 2020. By leveraging our international networks within Mars, our interns can also engage with leading scientists from around the globe.”
The changes follow positive feedback about the centralised internship education programme. Monthly imaging rounds and professional skills training were introduced in March 2021 and have been well attended, with an average quality score of nine out of ten.
The pilot also introduced one-to-one mentoring sessions, with more than 90 percent of Linnaeus interns assigned a dedicated mentor in their first month. Of the interns surveyed, 93 percent believed that mentoring would benefit their progression and 82 percent felt valued by having a dedicated mentor.
Linnaeus – which is owned by Mars Veterinary Health – has the largest network of specialist-led referral practices in the UK, with more than 70 rotating internships and 90 residency posts. Interns can also join its network of 47 primary care practices.
Natasha Hetzel, internship and residency manager at Linnaeus, commented: “We want to provide the best possible standards and support for our interns, and changes to our rotating internship programme have made a positive impact. One-to-one mentoring in particular has created a welcoming space for learning and feedback.
“Providing high-quality training and education enables our interns to access a range of careers across Linnaeus. Combined with the career progression at our referral and primary care practices, the long-term prospects for our interns are really exciting.”
Dick White Referrals is one of the Linnaeus-owned referral hospitals joining the centralised internship programme. Clinical Director at Dick White Referrals, Simon Tappin, said:
“Taking part in the centralised rotating internship programme means that we will offer broader training and research opportunities to our interns. They will receive full support from their referral practice, and can also tap into the expertise of our national and international networks.
“We have a fantastic cohort of interns based at Dick White Referrals, and I look forward to working with more interns across Linnaeus next year.”
The programme has attracted a range of talent from across the UK and Europe. Luis Garcia Roldán is a Spanish rotating intern at Linnaeus-owned Eastcott Veterinary Referrals in Swindon. He joined Eastcott in July 2021 and is aiming to become a specialist in internal medicine.
Luis said: “By working with a multidisciplinary team, I’ve been able to discuss a variety of clinical cases and approaches with different specialists. It’s very rewarding to learn from a highly-skilled veterinary and nursing team. Being non-native, I’m also working in a language that isn’t my mother tongue but my colleagues at Eastcott have been very supportive.”
Applications for the Linnaeus rotating internship programme are open until 24 January 2022. For further information, please visit the internship page on the Linnaeus website.