OPTION #1: If the student is a true volunteer, the clinic should check with a local attorney (not just their insurer) and make certain
that their workers'-compensation policy covers volunteers in the animal hospital. If the coverage is not clear, such people
should be paid at least the required minimum wage and should only be allowed on the premises during working hours.
If volunteering is covered by the compensation policy and no paycheck is involved, animal contact should be extremely limited
and written rules for the behavior and participation of the volunteer should be established. These would be signed by the
student and the student's parents.
OPTION #2: If the student is actually there to work, his tasks should be clearly laid out, and the teen-ager should be trained (with
a focus more on safety than productivity). Minimum-wage laws and maximum-hours rules (if the teen is a minor) must be observed.
It should be made clear that observation of the doctor is at the express discretion of the veterinarian, and that true work
is expected at all other times.
Note: Remember that similar concerns arise and similar conditions should be set forth for veterinary students and technician interns.
The fact that these people are in college does not necessarily change their legal status or their expectations regarding how
much they should have to work in order to gain the experience they seek at your hospital.
I suggest the student doctor or tech be charged with the responsibility for researching what coverage their educational institution
provides to cover them before they are allowed to start.