Real-world veterinary experience: AAEP student chapter short courses
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation recently announced its funded programs for 2012-2013, among which are the AAEP student chapter short courses on equine veterinary dentistry and equine podiatry and farrier work.
The purpose of the dentistry short course is to ensure that veterinary students are introduced to the recommended dentistry core competencies for entry-level and first-year veterinarians. Core competencies for entry-level veterinarians include:
1. An understanding of the anatomy and physiology associated with equine dentistry
2. Knowledge of the dental formula and eruption schedules of equids
3. Recognition of oral pathology
4. Performance and documentation of an oral examination
5. An understanding of the dentistry treatment principles and performance of primary dental care procedures.
Recommended dentistry core competencies for first-year veterinarians include:
1. Understanding deciduous tooth management
2. Performing regional nerve blocks of the head
3. Performing dental radiography.
Bruce Whittle, DVM, of Honey Creek Veterinary Hospital in Trenton, Mo., is an instructor and has participated in the AAEP student chapter dentistry short course program for a number of years. He usually conducts about two courses a year. Student participation varies greatly from school to school, depending on examination schedules. The dentistry course on average accommodates up to 30 students.
"When we have high participation at a given short course," Whittle says, "we have to be creative to make sure as many students as possible get as much hands-on experience as possible in the limited time we have available.
"Since it's voluntary for the students, those who do participate are extremely interested," continues Whittle. "I love doing the short courses—interacting with the students—as I often learn things from them, too. It's a very neat experience."
Whittle says that sometimes he has to tailor the course to the students, depending on their experience. "The lecture remains pretty much the same, but what we're able to do in the lab varies a lot," he says. "Sometimes we get more first- and second-year students and sometimes more third- and fourth-year students. There's a lot of difference between the first- and fourth-year students as far as confidence, experience, etc., since those in their later years are more advanced and already involved in clinical rotations."