David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Ideas Not Appropriately Vetted

March 14, 2017

Vet schools clearly represent the cutting edge in program admissions standards, as well as outcome measures.  Two headlines from the news this week confirm that.

First, Edinburgh Napier University is including a family of Labradors in its interview process for potential students.  If you can't stand to read the article and the tired pooch puns and jokes (it has been done before by hacks much tireder and punnier than them), allow me to summarize it for you here.  According to Jodie Smith, who is the program's recruitment officer and lecturer, the dogs allow the interview panel to assess the "aptitude of potential students for dealing with animals." 

That's a ridiculous premise.  Everyone knows that the Labrador gets along with EVERYONE!! Adolf Hitler, John Wayne Gacy, any current U.S. politician could come in the room and the labs would be all over them, licking away any stench of evil, arrogance, or incompetence.

Maybe they first thought of using a cat, but realized they would have the other problem.  Mother Theresa would have been ignored, and thus turned down, by a cat on the interview team.

I think back to the fantastic James Herriot books I read growing up.  What about large animal husbandry?  Who do the cows, horses and pigs have to see to get a hoof at the table?  "What about my brucellosis?" Elsie moans.

Besides, the article states that candidates are expected to talk about Labradors' biological needs: pee, poop, play, pet, partake in food.  How complicated can a Labrador be?

They should use mutts. Sure, there isn't all of the interesting conversation about in-breeding and genetic mutation of a purebred, but mutts bring their own psychological issues to the table.  I have called out my own two dogs before on their very issues.  See March 28, 2015's blog.

I wonder if ultimately PETA takes offense at this.  How would the medical profession fare if a school announced that a few local hypochondriacs were going to participate in the interviews? "Uh, hi, I'm Martin Schmelling.  I am 65 and I can't get a single doctor to confirm that I have brucellosis.  How would you treat me?"  Ten points for the candidate who points out that Mr. Schmelling's alleged condition is one found in livestock, not humans.

What would psychology programs do? Lead interviewer: "Be ready to interview with 15 potential patients.  They all technically go by the name of Sybil."

How about Social Work programs?  Criminal Justice programs?  Mortuary programs?

Speaking of the dead, here's this week's second fascinating headline from the world of veterinary programs: Stanbridge University now uses Surgical Synthetic Canine Cadavers -- and no, that does not roll off the tongue in any language.  (By the way, not that I would expect any cadaver to be something to look at, but be ready for a whoah! moment if you google images of these CC's.)

One DVM praises Stanbridge leadership for their willingness to "think outside of the box," and I can't help but want to paraphrase Groucho Marx: 'Well, inside the box it is too dark to think."  Given what I have seen and known about veterinarians, it is the act of euthanizing a pet that may be the hardest procedure to grapple with.  "Mrs. Jones, I am afraid we are going to have to put your cadaver down."  Just doesn't seem to capture the moment.

Living in a world where nursing simulation labs are common practice, I shouldn't be that shocked by Stanbridge's announcement.  However, the nursing simulations I am familiar with replicate live patients so that nursing students can see what results come from a decision, including death, and not have an actual patient die.  This seems strangely reverse of that, as the article cites that the cadavers feature living functions, like "breathing, bleeding, urination, and arterial pulsing."  I am pretty sure no one wants a dead body to be doing those things.  Pet Sematary, anybody?