2016 Year in Review: Emily Swords, Veterinary Technician Intern

It’s time to look back on 2016! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2016 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Wow! I’ve only been working at the Wildlife Center for three months now but it has totally changed my life. I don’t even know where to begin.

When I started my diagnostic internship as a freshly graduated veterinary technician, I had no clue what I was in for. My first few days were overwhelming, learning about all the species we treat here at the Center. Leigh-Ann went through all the basics with me of reading avian blood smears. At school, we were only shown bird and reptile white blood cells as pictures as an added extra to our Hematology class. Now, I was to begin performing and analyzing actual patients’ differentials every day!

I was excited but also scared because this was all so new to me. Those first few weeks were a blur of doing blood draws on our avian and reptilian patients to looking at their cells under a microscope and reporting to the doctors what I had seen.

As the weeks flew by, I began to notice that I was completing my lab work earlier and earlier each day. I was having fewer questions about telling the difference between the many white blood cells. I was becoming confident in my skills as a veterinary technician. Dr. Ernesto called me a “blood expert.” Such high praise! Just yesterday, I spent the afternoon teaching one of our vet students about the lab work that I do. I spoke with a confidence I didn’t realize I had had when relating complete blood counts and differentials to someone.

These past three months have helped me develop so many skills as a veterinary technician. I’m so grateful to everyone at the Wildlife Center for their guidance. I can only imagine what I will learn during the next nine months of my internship!

Keep checking the Wildlife Center's blog for more year-end posts this week!