A leading small animal hospital has urged potential recruits to its renowned internship programme to get their applications in before the deadline at the end of August.
Linnaeus-owned North Downs Specialist Referrals has run a longstanding internship programme at its Surrey hospital for many years, with a number of clinicians having benefitted from spending time working across its 12 specialist-led services.
The hospital is now urging potential applicants to beat the 29 August deadline to secure a place on its coveted programme.
Susanna Spence, RCVS and European specialist in small animal internal medicine, is one of three internship directors at NDSR alongside Angie Lozano, an RCVS and European specialist in anaesthesia and analgesia and Savina Gogova, European Specialist in Ophthalmology.
Susana said: “As internship directors at NDSR, we all look after a different aspect of the internship programme and work together to try to give our interns the best experience we can.
“While we are internship directors, each intern also has an individual mentor and is an integral part of the hospital as a whole.
“We welcome candidates who have many different ambitions and we work hard to make sure these can be achieved.
“Many of our interns have aspirations to become a specialist. Our internship has a proven record of previous interns progressing to specialist internships and residency programmes.
“However, some may not necessarily want to pursue a specialist path and choose instead to complete an internship to develop their skillset and knowledge to benefit a career in primary care, for example.
“A lot of learning is done by ‘doing’ and we encourage our interns to play as active a role in our patient care as possible, which I think stands them in good stead for whichever route they ultimately choose.”
NDSR provides an opportunity for interns to rotate around a number of specialist-led services, with Susanna revealing some new recruits arrive at the Bletchingley hospital with a fixed idea of their potential career path before altering their plans.
Susanna said: “I think something that sets us apart is the fact we have so many different services for interns to rotate around.
“There have been cases in the past where someone has come to us with a clear idea that a certain discipline would be for them, only to find that in actual fact they much preferred something else.
“It can be a real eye-opener to spend time across a number of different disciplines and working with some of the world-class specialists we have here, so the emphasis is very much on interns coming in with an open mind, enjoying their time here and absorbing as much as possible.
“We are a close-knit team, with everyone supporting each other and our interns are very much part of that, too.”
Indeed, former NDSR intern Paula Valiente passed her exams to become a European specialist in small animal internal medicine in 2021.
Her exam success saw Paula complete a journey which began when she first joined NDSR as an intern in 2016, having moved to the UK from Spain the previous year.
She said: “I still clearly remember when I first came to the hospital to complete a year-long rotating internship.
“I was immediately drawn to medicine and it gave me a fantastic insight into the referral world. I learned an incredible amount and soon realised I wanted to make internal medicine my specialty.”
Susanna concluded: “We do not pressure our interns down a particular path and some want to experience specialist practice in order to take this experience to general practice.
“Our rotating internship allows the interns to spend time with specialists from all areas of the hospital, as well as offering weekly seminars and lectures to ensure the best learning experience.”
NDSR offers specialist-led services in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery and spinal surgery.
To find out more about an internship at NDSR or to apply, visit the website.