Externship Information for Veterinary Students

FAQ for externs:

Why do I want to spend my externship at Countryside Veterinary Service?

At CVS we provide a culture of learning in which students have the opportunity to work on cases involving small animals, food animals, equine, exotics, and just about anything else you can think of. This includes our partnership with Henson Robinson Zoo. We allow students to become as involved in each case as they feel comfortable with, since we invite 1st to 4th year students. This could include simply observing the doctor, making suggestions on treatment plans, or taking the lead with doctor supervision. Our days are extremely varied between surgeries, emergencies, vaccines appointments, and sick patients so each day brings something new and exciting. We are also within driving distance of UIUC and Mizzou.

How many Veterinarians/Staff Members?

We currently have 4 full time veterinarians and hope to increase that number to 5-6 over the next few years. We have 3 locations within 40 miles of each other that our doctors rotate between. Our general staff typically consists of 15-18 employees, all of which are trained both as receptionists and technicians. We are very proud that every staff member completes an extensive 8-week training program. This ensures that our culture of excellence is maintained and allows us to operate effectively We also have a full-time groomer at our Taylorville location.

How do I apply?

The easiest way to apply is sending us an email at website or calling the hospital directly.

Email: Contact Us

Phone: (217) 824-3051

What should I include in my application?

Your application should include your CV, and the dates that would work best for you to come.

Will I be there with other externs?

It is possible that you could be here with another extern, but we will notify you if that is the case. Feel free to buddy up with a friend or classmate and schedule for the two of you to come together. Don’t worry though, this does not mean that you hands on experience will be decreased. We will match up each extern with their own doctor to work with every day.

Where do I stay?

We have a newly remodeled and fully furnished house approximately 3 minutes from our Taylorville location. The house is a two-bedroom, 1.5 bath with a fully functioning kitchen and a washer and dryer set. All our recent externs have loved staying there!

What should I bring for the house?

The house is fully stocked with all the essentials you will need for your time here. This includes bedding, towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, coffee, frozen meals, snacks, and drinks.  We recommend coming the day before your externship begins to get settled in and do any grocery shopping necessary if you are missing anything or would like to do any cooking while here. There are also many chain and local restaurants within a close proximity.

Do I have to stay at the clinic house?

You do not have to stay at the clinic house. You are welcome to stay with family or friends, or commute if that works better for you.

Can I bring my pets with me?

If you need to bring your pets with you, we are more than happy to board them at the clinic during your time here. Although, we do not allow pets in the clinic house as it is newly remodeled.

What should I wear?

Our normal attire includes boots or tennis shoes, jeans, and a polo or scrub top. Feel free to bring coveralls and rubber boots if you have them, otherwise you can borrow a pair from us.

What is my schedule?

The clinic is open 8a-5p Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, 8a-7p Thurs, and 8a-12p on Sat. Our doctors take lunch between 12-1 and you may join them or go somewhere on your own. You are also welcomed to ask the doctors to notify you about any after hours emergencies if you would like to join them.

How long should my externship be?

We prefer to schedule externships for a two-week period. We are very flexible though. If you only have one week of availability or even just a couple of days, we would still be happy to have you join us. On the other hand, if you would like to stay longer than two weeks, we do like to meet externs before we commit to an extended time period. Externships for a period longer than two weeks are typically only accepted for students who we have built a relationship with and/or are coming for a second or a third time.

What do I do if I need a day off or I am sick?

We are very relaxed with our externs. Please communicate with us that you will not be attending that day and let us know if there is anything that you will need. We do not want to be left worrying if we do not hear from you, our main concern is that you are okay.

Is there anything I should not do?

Do not participate in one-upmanship. Owners may ask you what your opinion is on their animal’s case. Always be helpful and courteous; do not question the advice of the doctor or offer you own treatment plan (without previously gaining approval from the doctor.) If you have questions about a doctor’s decisions, feel free to discuss with them afterwards to gain clarity. Questioning or doubting a doctor or technician in front of clients can lead to a lack of trust. Be sure to always treat our clients and patients with respect and maintain client confidentiality.

I am a 4th year. How do I get graded on my externship?

Typically your school will contact us with a grading form. You can expect good marks from us as long as you are respectful and participatory. If you would like an exit interview, or to simply discuss your time here with our doctors, all you need to do is ask.  If your grading sheet is not completed in a timely manner, please reach out. Sometimes we need to be reminded.

My externship starts in a couple of weeks, do I need to do anything?

Please reach out to confirm that you will still be attending your externship, provide your date of arrival, and let us know if you have any further questions.

My schedule has changed, and I need to cancel. What do I do?

Please notify us a soon as possible. We like to keep cancellations at a minimum, as we look forwards to seeing all of externs. We do understand that things change and there are no hard feelings. If you have a set of date that would work better for you, we would be more than happy to reschedule you. We just ask that you do notify us if you are needing to cancel, as it is concerning when we are expecting you and we do not hear anything!