Going into her third year of veterinary school at Cornell University, Djion Holness, 24, sharpened her skills in between semesters working under the guidance of Dr. Eric Louër at the at Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital this summer.
“With the pandemic, my hands-on experience was blunted,” Holness said. “I had spent the majority of my vet school experience online. I knew that was an area that I was lacking in, so I wanted to develop these skills more.”
During her time at GWLAH, Holness honed her surgical techniques and got more familiar with surgical procedures, including pre-surgical exam, catherization, induction, intubation, anesthesia monitoring, tissue handling, appropriate techniques for common procedures and suturing.
“I was so lucky to learn so much about the process in a one-on-one setting,” she said. “Apart from surgical experience, I also learned about many aspects of dental care, including radiograph interpretation, identifying teeth that need to be removed, and various tooth extraction techniques.”
According to Holness, it was happenstance that led to her shadowing experience in the first place.
Planning an event for her school’s student veterinary organization put Djion in touch with many industry professionals, including GWLAH Business Manager Carol Louer.
“I actually developed a relationship with Carol due to the unfortunate circumstance of her order not processing correctly,” Holness said. “She then invited me to the hospital to shadow Dr. Louer!”
Going into the next stage of her veterinary education, Djion said that her skill set has grown during her time working with Dr. Louer.
“I definitely improved the most with my catherization and basic tissue handling,” she said. “I had very minimal experience before starting here, but now I am confident in my ability to place catheters, and have a good foundation in tissue handling.”
Holness said the experience was so much more than what she was expecting.
Gaining confidence to ask questions freely
“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Dr. Louer,” she said. “He was very patient with me and took the time to answer all of my questions. I am not the type of student that usually asks questions in class; but being in a one-on-one environment gave me the confidence to voice my thoughts and ask questions freely. It was exactly what I needed.
“To me, it is so exciting to work through a case, come up with differentials and a treatment plan for a patient,” she added. “It is also so rewarding to see how a treatment can help end a pet’s pain and suffering.”