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Kaitlin Doig PharmD ’16

Spotlight Kaitlin Doig PharmD ’16

  • At Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), students gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations at prestigious hospitals and medical institutions.

    For Kaitlin Doig PharmD ’16, that meant gaining direct experience in equine medicine and veterinary care at New England Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Dover, NH. During her rotation, Kaitlin jumped into brand new and exciting experiences, including scrubbing in for equine surgeries and serving as a drug resource for veterinarians.

    As someone with a special interest in educating patients on medication use, Kaitlin’s dream career is to work as a consulting pharmacist who works with visiting nurse associations to help patients safety manage their medications.

    In this Clinical Spotlight, Kaitlin shares her advice for students thinking about a clinical experience in a veterinary setting and explains how, over the course of her clinical rotation, she became fully trained as a veterinary technician.

    Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Kaitlin! Why did you choose a rotation in equine medicine?

    Before this clinical experience, I had no experience with horses. I chose this rotation site because my career is going to take me into retail pharmacy where pet medications are dispensed and I wanted to be familiar with the differences in drug uses in animals. My supervising preceptor was a veterinarian, because they have the most training in animal medicine.

    Tell us a little about the New England Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Dover, NH.

    This hospital is unique because it focuses solely on horses and it provides a safe environment for learning. Every year they take on three or four newly graduated veterinarians as interns who shadow the veterinarians who work there and slowly get more comfortable performing procedures on their own. They also take in externs which are veterinary students who want to get some unpaid experience to fulfill school requirements. There are four veterinarians on staff who are very diligent about getting the students involved in everything and explain what is going on.

    How did you feel at the beginning of your rotation?

    Initially I was overwhelmed because there was so much going on around every corner that I almost felt helpless being the newcomer. As I gained confidence, I got involved in the treatment of more horses, including holding them for procedures done by the vets, sedating them during surgery, and perfecting the art of compounding oral medications for the horses.

    What was one of your favorite aspects of this rotation?

    The direct hands-on experience! They allowed me to get as involved as I wanted and I took full advantage of it. I scrubbed in for every surgery ranging from cutting a piece of nerve off their leg, removing bladder stones, and intense life-saving intestinal surgeries.

    Tell us more about one of these hands-on experiences.

    The highlight of my experience here was when we had a horse with a fungal infection in his nose and the veterinarians were trying to figure out what to give it topically. They placed a direct line into the sinus cavity and sent me to the local pharmacy to pick up all the Monistat they had on the shelves because we needed one tube of miconazole cream per treatment. This horse needed about 20 boxes of Monistat. It was a rather hilarious and awkward experience!

    How did this rotation allow you to apply the skills you have gained at MCPHS?

    Our professors always tell us that there are certain things that can only be learned from experience and to question everything we do not understand. Both of those words of wisdom came true on this rotation. I also put my third year compounding skills to the test when I mixed medications every day, and I utilized the resources from my veterinary pharmacy elective last spring.

    What surprised you about your clinical experience?

    Everything surprised me about this experience! The amount they allowed me to get involved without previous experience or training in the area was the biggest surprise. The severity and complexity of the cases that came through the hospital were exciting. Every day there was something new to learn or a new procedure to watch. I also surprised myself with the amount of fascination and appreciation I gained for equine medicine and horses themselves.

    What’s your advice for someone thinking about a clinical rotation in a veterinary or equine setting?

    Keep an open mind and do not be afraid to jump into the unknown with both feet! I knew nothing about horses or equine medicine before this rotation. I pushed myself outside my comfort zone, asked lots of questions, and shadowed everything I could to learn what I could do to help. By the end I was fully trained as a veterinary technician and left quite an impression on the staff there! Show lots of initiative and interest in what is going on to gain the most benefit from a rotation such as this one, even if it is not what you want to do with the rest of your life. It can be a lot of fun if you put effort into learning new things!

    How can students get the most out of their clinical experiences?

    Initiative is also the key to gaining the most out of any experience. Since I took lots of initiative during this experience, it taught me a valuable lesson in how much I can learn by having confidence to ask questions when I did not know something or just volunteering to help in any way I could. This experience taught me the most about myself and allowed me to mature into a confident drug expert, rather than cracking under the pressure of someone relying on my knowledge to make clinical decisions.

    What was your biggest takeaway from this clinical experience?

    My biggest takeaway was the long term professional and personal connections I made with the team there. They really considered me one of their own and did not want me to leave when the six weeks were over. Even now I am welcomed with open arms whenever I go back to visit!

    What the alumni of our School of Pharmacy are up to? Read our spotlight of Morgan Dobry, a 2014 graduate of our Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business program.