While Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) may be known for the 28 superb veterinarians who call it home, they are also a driving force in educating the next generation of equine medical professionals. Through world-renowned internship and externship programs, PBEC molds new veterinarians every day.
Each year, four interns work with PBEC veterinarians for a 12-month period. Whether from externships that usually last up to two weeks and serve as an introduction to the practice, or by references from top veterinarians across the U.S. and abroad, PBEC attracts the most promising young vets in the field.
Currently, PBEC is host to recently graduated vet students from Oklahoma, Scotland, and Argentina. According to PBEC veterinarian Dr. Weston Davis who leads the Internship program, South Florida attracts only the best.
“We really have the cream of the crop because they have big opportunities here,” said Dr. Davis. “A lot of internships can offer work with one or two vets, but what’s cool at PBEC is they can pick from the collection of doctors we have.”
PBEC’s interns rotate through three phases, including hands-on application of hospital anesthetization, imaging – both from ambulatory duty and elective – and working with a doctor of their choice based on their specific interests.
Dr. Davis has been with PBEC for two years and immediately took interest in making the internship program the best it could be. In two years, he has made one of the world’s best programs even better.
“I wanted to make it as organized and structured as it could be so they can get as much out of that year as possible,” he said. “The general rule is that doing a one-year internship puts you three to five years ahead of those that come out of school and start out on their own. Interns come out of school with a handle on book knowledge and the internships give them a good clinical appreciation for those same topics. They see a lot and do a lot under the supervision of seasoned vets while they are here.”
While PBEC internships offer obvious perks for the interns themselves, it also has added benefit for the vets already at the clinic.
“The value for the interns is they get to see a tremendous amount of cases in short time, but it’s also valuable for us because they come out of school with fresh knowledge, new ideas, and keep us current and on our toes,” said Dr. Davis.
Traditionally vet students will fulfill their internship requirements and move on to find a full-time position at other practices. Dr. Davis himself did just that after graduating from the University of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine and interning at Oakridge Equine Hospital in Oklahoma. But, the experiences available at PBEC keep its interns staying put.
History has proven that many interns who work for PBEC as interns go on to accept full-time positions at the clinic. One of those vets is Dr. Ryan Lukens. After earning his DVM from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, he began an internship with PBEC in 2012.
“I am so pleased that I did my internship with Palm Beach Equine,” said Dr. Lukens. “It was basically another year of school where I got to focus on exactly what I wanted to do.”
Dr. Lukens specialized in sports medicine, lameness, and diagnostic imaging, which is a passion he inherited from his father, a fellow veterinarian. His experience with PBEC solidified that concentration thanks to the latest in veterinary technology.
“When I came to PBEC, I had access to all the newest equipment. That gave me more tools to improve my skills under the direction of a full network of senior vets,” added Dr. Lukens. “When you leave vet school, you have a question every hour of the day, and I had a number of vets who were a phone call away to answer those questions. I never had to second-guess myself because they were there to help me learn. But, there also isn’t always one way to do something correctly. I learned the opinions of so may vets who do things just a little differently, and it helped me to find my own way and what’s best for the horses I treat.”
Thanks to PBEC, horse owners in South Florida and beyond have access to well-educated veterinarians with hands-on experience that is unmatched.