Meet The Managers!

The Wildlife Medical Clinic has two veterinary students employed as clinic managers (in addition to the over 100 student volunteers). These vet students oversee the clinic daily, stay on campus over vacations and breaks to take care of the wildlife patients, and provide support for anything the teams of volunteers need.

Kara Hiebert, VM3: Kara is a third-year veterinary student! She began volunteering as a first-year vet student and has been working hard to provide excellent care for the wildlife patients we see and answering any questions that other students may have about their cases.

  1. What’s your favorite aspect of working at the WMC?
    1. My favorite aspect of volunteering at the WMC is all of the hands-on experience that we wouldn’t otherwise get until our clinical year. This experience includes anything from placing intravenous catheters, to monitoring anesthesia, to creating a treatment plan for various patients. Of course, releasing our patients after working hard to rehabilitate them is a close second.
  1. What are your duties as Student Manager?
    1. Our duties as student managers can vary throughout the year. During the school year, patient care is primarily the responsibility of the teams, but we still oversee treatment decisions and give advice when needed. We are also responsible for cleaning the clinic, maintaining clinic inventory, organizing patient transfers, and organizing rounds speakers and team leader training. During the summer and other academic breaks, the student managers take over patient care in addition to our other duties. Thankfully, during the summer a few student interns and many wonderful volunteers help us out.
  2. What are your future career goals?
    1. I would love to work as a wildlife or zoo veterinarian in the future. Ideally, I’d like to work part of the time in a wildlife rehabilitation setting and part of the time in a zoo or aquarium setting, so finding a job at a zoo or aquarium with a rehabilitation program would be the best of both worlds. Additionally, I have a soft spot for marine mammals, so any opportunity to work with them in a rehabilitation setting would be a dream job for me. Of course, employment in these fields can be difficult to find, so even if I do not get my dream job, I’ll be happy as long as I am using my veterinary career to contribute to wildlife conservation.
  3.  What are your goals for the WMC as Student Manager?
    1. My goals as a student manager of the WMC are primarily to become the best veterinarian I can be and leave a positive impact on the clinic when I leave. I hope to sharpen my clinical skills (placing IV catheters, drawing blood, etc.) as well as my critical thinking skills (determining a diagnosis, making treatment decisions, etc.). Additionally, I hope to use this position to teach others about the WMC and local Illinois wildlife, so people continue to support and value the work we do here.

Cassie Vespa, VM2: Cassie is a second-year veterinary student and our newest manager! She was chosen for the manager position once Ainsely Boyle moved on to her clinical rotations.

  1. What is your favorite aspect of volunteering at the WMC?
    1. The hands-on and decision making experience at the WMC clinic is unparalleled. The clinic is primarily student run. We get the opportunity to triage cases, come up with treatment plans, and perform procedures while working closely with Dr. Reich. I see and learn something new every day.  I also like getting the opportunity to teach other students what I’ve learned.
  2. What are your duties as Student Manager? 
    1. As student managers we are responsible for ensuring that the clinic is running smoothly and all patients are receiving the care they need. We do intake exams on all new patients, develop treatment plans, perform relevant diagnostics (radiographs, bloodwork, etc), administer treatments, perform procedures such as debriding and suturing wounds, placing bandages and casts, performing physical therapy on patients recovering from broken bones, etc., and of course providing them with comfortable enclosures and fresh food and water. We are also responsible for transferring healthy patients to licensed rehabilitators or releasing them, answering phone calls, inventory for the clinic, and keeping the clinic clean and organized. During the school year, we organize rounds lectures for our student volunteers and training for team leaders.
  3. What are your future career goals? 
    1. I’ve always wanted to work with exotic animals. I love seeing so many different species. I’d love to work for a zoo or animal reserve, or work with exotic pets in private practice. My fiance is a small animal veterinarian interested in surgery and physical therapy. By combining our strengths, we hope to someday own our own clinic!
  4. What are your goals for the WMC as Student Manager? 
    1. To help the clinic continue to grow and make improvements that will streamline longstanding efficiency so that we can provide the best care we can to patients while optimizing learning experiences for students.

Raise the Roost!

On Wednesday, May 9th, the Wildlife Medical Clinic held an event to celebrate moving to into their new permanent clinic space. This event was open to all staff and students who wanted to attend and raise a glass of champagne to this new chapter for the clinic. Check out the entire photo album here! 

Dr. Sarah Reich (middle) cuts the ribbon held by the two student clinic managers, Kara Hiebert (left) and Cassie Vespa (right).

A Barred Owl Valentine

Barred Owl: from head trauma to flight

An adult barred owl was brought to the Wildlife Medical Clinic on a cold February day. Volunteers quickly appreciated classic signs of head trauma: dazed look, inappropriate reaction times, blood in the mouth and nares, and even a deviated mandible (lower jaw).

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