Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Rotating Internship


Applications for this program are only accepted online through the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC) sponsored Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program (VIRMP).  All program information and agreement, application, and rank forms are available through the VIRMP web-based system. Applications should NOT be sent directly to the University of Florida.


The UF small animal rotating internship offers an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated, hardworking, and professional individual to work and learn in a busy and friendly referral hospital. Previous UF interns have continued on to residency positions across the country.

We are very proud of our program and believe the broad exposure to a wide variety of veterinary disciplines along with the support of well respected, enthusiastic faculty members make our program very competitive. Interns have primary case responsibility on most services and will work under the direct supervision of board-certified faculty and residents in training.

Internship Objectives

  1. To acquire advanced training and skills in the diagnosis and treatment of disease in small animals.
  2. To acquire advanced knowledge, training, and skills in the specific areas of internal medicine, surgery, emergency medicine and critical care, as well as general practice, anesthesiology, neurology, oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, diagnostic imaging, clinical pathology, and dermatology.
  3. To develop teaching skills and lecture techniques to educate individuals in a group setting.
  4. To prepare interns for a residency program, graduate study, or for entry into a high-quality small animal veterinary practice.

The Clinical Program

The program is a 54-week intensive clinical program emphasizing gaining practical clinical experience under the supervision of experienced faculty members in internal medicine (8 – 10 weeks), orthopedic and soft tissue surgery (8 -10 weeks), anesthesia (2 weeks), cardiology (2 weeks), neurology (2 weeks), oncology (2 weeks), diagnostic imaging (2 weeks), emergency and critical care (16 weeks) and other specialties on an elective basis (6 weeks). External rotations are occasionally permitted for specialized training experiences. The program is designed to qualify the individual for entry into an approved residency program leading to board certification in a recognized veterinary specialty. Interns will assume primary case management responsibility under the direct guidance and supervision of faculty service members.

During the last six months of the internship year interns will participate in the overnight emergency duty (2 weeks) on a rotating basis and will remain in the hospital overnight. Overnight interns will be responsible for both referral and walk-in emergency cases and assist in the oversight of ICU patients with support provided by emergency and critical care faculty as well as from other specialty service residents and faculty clinicians on-call.

Mentorship

Each intern will be assigned a mentor who will provide guidance and will serve as a liaison throughout the program. The intern’s faculty advisor will be assigned by the Internship Committee at the beginning of the training program. The advisor will be chosen based on the intern’s letter of intent and direct communication with the intern regarding their clinical interests and long-term goals following acceptance into the training program.

The faculty advisor’s primary role is to serve as a mentor and advocate for the intern.  They should assist the intern in setting and keeping to timetables for completion of the internship requirements.  The mentor will be kept advised of the intern’s progress through receipt of rotation evaluations and will also participate in the quarterly program progress evaluations. The mentor should also serve as a source of advice and guidance for career decisions (particularly for those interns interested in pursuing advanced training in a clinical specialty).

Intern Responsibilities

Intern responsibilities consist of clinical assignments which include patient care, participation in the clinical teaching of junior and senior veterinary students, participation in the intern and resident seminars series and possible participation in selected continuing education courses. Responsibilities also include rotating day, night and weekend emergency duty.

Interns are required to

  1. Assist and direct the admission, care, and monitoring of patients on the intern’s assigned service.
  2. Supervise the care and treatment of referral cases as directed by the attending faculty member.
  3. Attend all appropriate rounds, seminars, journal and book club activities as scheduled by the assigned service.
  4. Assist and supervise patient care provided by students; active instruction of students is expected.
  5. Communicate with owners and referring veterinarians in a timely and professional manner in every case, provide appropriate follow-up information via documented verbal and/or written correspondence, and complete medical records promptly.

Presentation of one 25-minute seminar to an audience of faculty, house officers, and students is required. Interns are required to set additional scholarship goals including case studies, case reports, and/or participation in ongoing research. Submission of a manuscript for publication in a scientific journal is required for the successful completion of the program.

Intern Evaluations

Interns will receive evaluations after each rotation and there will be a quarterly written evaluation which is discussed with the Intern Advisor and the Chair of the intern committee. In addition to these formal reviews, the intern is encouraged to meet with their faculty advisor regularly to discuss their progress and accomplishments during the internship.

Faculty and Facilities

The UF College of Veterinary Medicine is located in the city of Gainesville in North Central Florida. This area enjoys a warm climate and there are abundant opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreational activities nearby. Although the work schedule for the internship is demanding, there is time available to explore the area and enjoy the benefits of being in Florida. Our veterinary hospital is a major animal referral center for the Southeast treating more than 37,000 animals annually. The new hospital, which opened in November 2010, is a 90,000 square foot space boasting a wide range of board-certified veterinary specialists who provide compassionate care and expertise in their fields, as well as sophisticated diagnostic imaging capabilities, modern surgical suites, an intensive care unit and a spectrum of cutting edge technologies to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of difficult and complex diseases. Clinical services include internal medicine, surgery, anesthesia and pain management, cardiology, neurology, oncology, emergency and critical care, clinical nutrition, ophthalmology, primary care and dentistry, rehabilitation, acupuncture, behavior, and zoological medicine, and blood banking services

Certificate of Internship

A certificate of successful internship completion will be awarded at the end of the internship only when the stipulated Internship Certificate Requirements are satisfied, and the Internship Committee Members have signed the Documentation of Internship Completion Form.

Internship Certificate Requirements

  1. The intern must complete all clinical rotations, scheduled emergency duties, medical records, and referral letters.
  2. The intern must demonstrate competency in medical and surgical skills judged appropriate for an intern’s level of professional development.
  3. The intern must develop two teaching cases or presentations to be used in small group learning situations during the academic year.
  4. The intern must attend all seminars, rounds, and scheduled meetings (including journal clubs) specific to the service the intern is currently assigned to and specific to the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.
  5. Each intern must present one seminar in the Intern and Resident Seminar Series. Topics must be selected 3 months in advance.
  6. The intern must submit one first or second author manuscript to a refereed journal. This manuscript must be peer reviewed and must be co-authored by a faculty member.
  7. The intern must make a written evaluation of the internship program. This evaluation must be submitted to the Director of the Internship Program by the end of the second week of June.
  8. The intern must complete the final checklist and submit this document to the Program Director by the end of the second week of June.

Factors favoring selection of the applicant include letters of recommendation that indicate superior clinical skills, a strong academic record and a record of activities demonstrating good leadership and interpersonal skills.

More information about the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and the Small Animal Hospital can be found on our website at www.vetmed.ufl.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Small Animal Internship Program

These are answers to the most frequently asked questions from candidates interested in internship at UF.

  1. How many interns do you take?

We employ 8 small animal rotating interns each year.

  1. Do I need a Florida License?

You do not need to take the Florida Licensing exam. You must have passed the NAVLE (for candidates from US and Canadian schools) and undergo a background check. Once those are completed, you will be granted a Florida Limited License, which allows you to practice veterinary medicine within the university.

  1. How will I spend my time?

The internship is currently broken down into the following rotating blocks (these may change somewhat with each intern class):

General Rotation Schedule
Rotation / Service Time Allotted
Internal Medicine

Surgery

Daytime Emergency/Triage

Overnight Emergency

Primary Care Medicine

Neurology

Oncology

Cardiology

Diagnostic Imaging

Anesthesia

Elective Rotations

Vacation

Orientation

8-10 weeks

8-10 weeks

14 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

6 weeks

2 weeks

1 week

  1. How many of your interns match for residency?

It is dependent on the discipline. Overall, in the past 5 years, 68% of interns matched for either residency or specialty internship on the first try. 68% ultimately obtained a residency position. We do not release placement rates by discipline.

  1. What do you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the program?

Strengths: Dedication to teaching throughout the hospital; availability of a wide range of specialists from whom to learn; positive working environment; strong support for interns from faculty; opportunity to work in the state-of-the-art teaching hospital in the country.

Weaknesses: Like any internship the days are long, and interns frequently work weekends; the focus of this internship is clinical experience so it may not suit a person who primarily desires a research career.

  1. How much time off are interns allotted?

Interns have a total of 10 working days of vacation.

  1. Is it possible to schedule time to go to conferences (e.g. VCS) and visit potential residency programs?

Yes. Interns get 10 vacation days over the year of the internship. Service schedule permitting, these can be taken at any time, for personal or professional travel. Five hundred dollars for professional development is provided for each intern enrolled in the program.

  1. Do I need to interview for the internship?

No. Due to the number of applicants, we do not conduct interviews. 

  1. Are there any current interns I could contact about the program?

After reviewing this FAQ sheet if you still have specific questions about the University of Florida, we can arrange for you to have one of our current interns address those particular questions. You may contact our VIRMP internship program coordinator, Stuart Walton (stuartawalton@ufl.edu) who will put you in touch with a current intern. 

  1. How is the emergency service (day and night) structured? How many weeks does the intern spend on emergency?

Interns will spend approximately 16 weeks on emergency during the internship. 14 weeks are spent on the daytime (7am – 7 pm) or swing shift 4 pm – 2 am) with two days off during the week (Dayshift Tuesday/Wednesday, Swing Monday/Tuesday). Two consecutive weeks are spent on overnight duty during the second half of the rotating internship. There is an Emergency/Critical Care faculty assigned to duty who is available to help support the intern directly. There is also a very active backup system consisting of on-clinic overseeing faculty.

  1. Is there any flexibility in terms of spending more time on a service of interest?

Yes. There is some flexibility within the required rotations. This is usually discussed at the time of matching before the rotation schedule is created. You also will have elective blocks to spend more time in a discipline of interest. Every attempt is made to enable interns to spend as much time as possible in their areas of interest. The schedule is created to provide interns with rotations as early in the year as possible on services they are interested in pursuing (i.e., future residencies).

  1. What special instruction (journal club, etc.) is provided for interns?

Interns have rounds every Monday morning with the faculty from 8am – 9am. This is in the form of didactic instruction on a specific topic of relevance to the intern class. A one-hour, hospital-wide lecture series occurs every Wednesday. Both large and small animal faculty and house officers attend. Lectures are given by residents and interns.

Many services also hold various activities in order to fulfill residency requirements (i.e., specific journal clubs or topic rounds, and clinical pathology rounds). When possible (typically while working on that service), interns are required to attend.

  1. Are interns required/permitted/encouraged to do any public speaking and/or teaching?

Each intern is required to present a 20-minute presentation during Wednesday morning Grand Rounds. Interns are constantly involved in student teaching when on the hospital floor. An interest in and aptitude for teaching is valued.

  1. How much primary case responsibility are the interns able to have?

This varies from service to service. Interns take primary case responsibility when they are on the internal medicine, emergency, and community practice rotations. On other rotations, the amount of primary case responsibility varies with caseload, number of residents, and the individual intern’s comfort level. While these variables play a role, all faculty members make a concerted effort to provide interns case responsibility and engage interns into the activities of the service.