Monday, May 17, 2010

Treat your veterinary internship seriously


I receive many e-mails regarding internship. Some writers obviously have not visited the Toa Payoh Vets webpage to research on the requirements of internship (this webpage). These applicants will be rejected.

Market yourself well if you want to do well in life and get what you want. This is the reality of life. There are strong competitors and other factors affecting your chances of being successful. Therefore, be prepared if you want to be an intern. In Toa Payoh Vets, internship is Dr Sing's giving-back to the community rather than a tool to recruit employees. Therefore, applicants need to satisfy the following:

1. Application via e-mail/post. E-mail to giving 5 reasons in 500 words as to why Toa Payoh Vets should accept you as an intern. Enclose your resume, 2 character references and academic results of your "O", "A" levels and undergraduate grades or equivalent.

2. Please note that we do NOT accept interns with poor academic grades and no two character references. In other words, your "A-level" and polytechnic grades must be in the top 5% to be accepted as prospective undergraduates in veterinary schools in the U.K, Australia, New Zealand or U.S.A. This usually means at least 3 straight As and some Bs at "A" levels or Junior College Year 2 results. Applicants with acceptance by the Veterinary School overseas will be given priority.

3. Applicants should provide their grades in their school and get 2 character references if they want to see practice in Toa Payoh Vets by e-mail or post. E-mail for internship without any required supporting documents will mean that you do not know how to be successful in the real world.  
4. Knowledge of digital photography will be an advantage. Show me your portfolio if you have such knowledge.

5. E-mails without our above requirements and those with attached files will not be entertained. We don't download attached files due to concerns about viral infections. Therefore, learn how to include your character references inside the e-mail directly or post the application to Toa Payoh Vets, Blk 1002, Toa Payoh Lor 8, 01-1477, Singapore 319074.

6. Interviews by Dr Sing. Bring your original certificates and testimonials together with photocopies. Testimonials unsigned by the teacher or referee or without letterheads are suspect and are unacceptable. I will phone your referees, therefore ensure that they are prepared to talk to me about your character and integrity.

7. Payment for internship. Please note that you will not be paid. If your parents or you expect payment, please apply elsewhere.

8. Honesty is most important for interns as dark forces in your mind seem to work harder at the growing up age to deviate you from the "straight" path. Thefts of money and property of Toa Payoh Vets will be reported to the police.

9. Diligence at keeping records and writing up cases within 48 hours are required. I will discuss with interns some cases. If they don't have time to record the findings and challenges encountered in the handling of such cases, how can they learn and profit from the internship? I note that there are many interns from Junior College not adhering to this requirement. This is a bad attitude.

9.1 Pen and Paper/Electronic pens. It is best you bring your non-electronic book to write down details and instructions of the cases.

I know some young ones are used to keying messages into the mobile phone. You are the internet generation. However, I cannot wait while you thumb furiously my verbal instructions and discussions of the cases into your mobile phone because I have lots of things to do myself and I can't wait for you.

Therefore, pen and paper are still necessary. However, if you have an electronic pen, it is OK with me. Reports are to be submitted within 48 hours by e-mail to me.

10. Personal safety. Toa Payoh Vets is in an industrial park but it is a very safe place to work in the evenings. I had an internist who told me her grandmother was worried about her working in the evening and therefore she should work during office hours. In such cases, my reply will be to just stay at home. Veterinary work in the real world involves evenings and weekend work.

11. Gossip. Try not to waste time spent at Toa Payoh Vets by idle talk with my staff. They have lots of work to do but some of my staff simply love idle chat and gossip with newcomers. Most likely you will find that you need time management and that you practically have no time to complete your tasks. So why spend time gossiping?

12.  Self-discipline & targets. You should write up the daily cases within 24 hours (that is why I will ask whether you have a note-book) and e-mail them to me (not as attached files - you figure how you do it electronically).

13. Independence. Ask your mother not to phone me enquiring about internship on your behalf. I don't accept students who can't be self-reliant. Please ask your parent or best friend NOT to accompany you for the interview. But if mum comes, introduce the parent/s to me as a matter of courtesy. Best friends are best left at home! This is one time you need to cut the apron's strings and be confident as you embark on a new and wonderful adventure into the big animal world.
In conclusion, many young people come for interviews and work unprepared without resume and requirements. Some girls come with their mothers and best friends for the interviews. Please note that you are asking for an internship and therefore should be well prepared for the interview so as not to waste time.  

Internship is serious business for you. You will learn the ropes and the challenges of the real world in a commercial veterinary practice. It is so much different from your school or home. It is not a travel or boat cruise at Toa Payoh Vets. It is not your "grandfather's house" where you come and go as you please and relax at Toa Payoh Vets just like the young man in the picture of "The Magnificent Twelve".

There is much to learn and much to teach the interns going to study to become good veterinarians in the very short time you are with me.

A lot of time and resources are given to the intern to get them on the feet into the exotic and beautiful veterinary world. I don't want youths who are not up to my expectations to be at Toa Payoh Vets. Therefore, ensure that you are able to comply with the above requirements before you apply to be an intern at Toa Payoh Vets. 

Common behaviour of Singaporean interns observed. Tardiness and not being punctual at work are commonly observed for the previous interns. This is unacceptable and your internship may be terminated immediately.
You may feel that you are not paid, therefore you can come and go as you please. Toa Payoh Vets actually must spend time and money to mentor you.

You are not an asset to the practice at this time of your life and if you feel otherwise, please do not apply for internship. The world does not owe you a living. You have to prove that you can be an asset to Toa Payoh Vets by your actions and your diligence once you are accepted as an intern. Note that punctuality at work is important in Toa Payoh Vets. If you feel that you can't be punctual or wake up early in the morning to go to work, please do not apply for internship.

Note that your internship will be terminated immediately if your working attitude and punctuality is not up to my expectations. Ensure you have sufficient rest at home. I have seen interns yawning or sleepy during my case discussions. This is not an acceptable behaviour and may mean instant dismissal. Therefore, treat your vet internship seriously. Your good or bad behaviour serves to undermine Toa Payoh Vets' scheme of internship for future applicants and therefore you need to do your best.

Even if you are selfish don't care about other young ones by displaying poor work attitudes during internship. In any case, your internship will be terminated immediately if you show little passion or interest in veterinary medicine and surgery. Note that testimonials are given only for interns who have worked full-time and for more than 4 weeks. Others will receive a record of attendance.

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