Orientation Gives Veterinary Nursing Students Head-start on New Semester

Friday, September 3, 2021

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A brown boxer stands on an exam table as a student holds her leash and Mindy gentle touches her hands to either side of the dog's head and veterinary students make sure the dog is safe
Mindy Cotton, RVT, behavior technician in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital, instructs veterinary nursing students Amber Bakker, Joahan Monge, and Madison Blaettner on how to handle canine patients, with the help of a “Pet Professor” – a PVM faculty or staff pet that helps students learn non-invasive techniques.

New beginnings are the order of the day for Purdue University Veterinary Nursing students in the incoming Clinical Year 2, as they begin coursework in Lynn Hall for the first time.  Monday, August 23, was orientation day for students in the Veterinary Nursing Class of 2024, 26 of whom are from Indiana.  The class also includes students from Illinois, Ohio, and Massachusetts.

The Clinical Year 2 students now will be seen daily in Lynn Hall as they advance through the courses and clinical experiences specific to veterinary nursing.  “Right off the bat, I could tell that this cohort of second-year students had personality plus,” observed Dr. Chad Brown, director of the Veterinary Nursing Program. “They are so excited to begin the clinical year of their education where they can focus on the subjects of their chosen careers – like small animal nursing and veterinary dentistry.”

To help prepare them for the new academic year, the orientation day involved several components, including touring Lynn Hall, signing Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s Seven Pillars of Professionalism document, and meeting with their fall semester instructors. The orientation also gave the students an appreciation for what makes Purdue’s on-campus program so very unique – the student clinical rotations in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Brown explained that during years 2 through 4 of their Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Nursing (BSVN) plan of study, the students will complete 1,340 clinical rotation hours in specialized areas such as oncology, large animal surgery, and physical rehabilitation, to name a few.

Cass and Kayleigh hold up a surgical gown beside an exam stable as two veterinary nursing students look on
Cass Simmons, RVT, VTS (Surgery), small animal surgery technologist in the Veterinary Hospital, explains proper handling and care of surgery gowns to veterinary nursing student Kayleigh Clevenger.

“Purdue Veterinary Medicine is one of only four U.S. colleges with both DVM and Veterinary Nursing (VN) Programs housed together,” noted Dr. Brown. “This makes us quite unique in that our students are exposed to virtually all specialties during their more than 1,300 required clinical rotation hours. In addition, our college really embraces all available opportunities for team-based learning between the DVM and VN students, which serves as a great building block for their future careers working together as a symbiotic unit.”

The Veterinary Nursing Program also welcomed 110 new distance learning students who registered for Fall 2021.  Purdue’s 70 credit-hour Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning Program (VNDL) enables students to earn their Associate of Applied Science degree remotely.  In addition to online coursework, the students also complete required mentorships during which they receive hands-on clinical training. After completion of the degree program, they are eligible to take their Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and then state licensing exams to become credentialed veterinary technicians. 

“On August 19, we had a virtual orientation for all of our students scattered across the world,” explained Dr. Brown.  “What differentiates this program is that it enables our students to remain employed in their own communities, while completing their degree.”  With the 110 new students, there now are a total of 394 students enrolled in the online degree program.

A warm welcome to all of the new veterinary nursing students, both on campus and online!


Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu


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