Roo Uni Vet Student Externship Spotlight: Buffalo, NY

Ross Zimmerman
January 11, 2024

With hundreds of externships available through Roo Uni and literally hundreds more on the way (stay tuned), that’s a lot of opportunities for a vet student to sift through to try and find the one that’s right for them. We couldn’t possibly tell you about all of them, but we can highlight a few hospitals that we think are really special. Today, our travels take us to New York state but not to the city you’d expect! We’re headed to Buffalo — home of, you guessed it, Buffalo Wings — to get to know some truly extraordinary animal hospitals hosting some extra spicy externships for vet students.

Veterinary Practice Partners Externships with Roo Uni

Veterinary Practice Partners is a one of a kind hospital group, which hosts a number of externships through Roo Uni. They’re all about supporting veterinarians opening their own practices, which can be a huge help for vets hoping to achieve their ultimate dream. This means each VPP Clinic is completely unique (and every vet student externship they host, too) — there’s no VPP brand identity, and that’s the way they like it! Instead, each vet brings their own identity and culture to their own perfectly individualized clinic.

VPP is just there to support their vets with all the business nitty-gritty such as marketing, accounting, HR, IT, benefits and payroll, recruiting, and operational assistance. Basically, VPP handles everything outside the four walls of the clinic so the owner-veterinarian can focus on providing the best medical care possible.  

In some instances, new graduates have even jumped right into practice ownership straight out of college with the support of VPP. If you’re looking for a hospital group that can take you all the way, you’ll want a relationship with VPP, and an externship at a VPP hospital will get your foot in that door!

Roo Uni’s Vet Student Externships in Buffalo 

Ellicott Street Animal Hospital

If you’re looking to get some hands on experience at a really unique hospital with a ton of history, Ellicott Street Animal Hospital is the externship you’re looking for. It was founded in 1880, and Dr. Reed Stevens is the 5th owner in its 143 year history. In fact, Ellicott has been around so long, it was one of the founding hospitals of the AAHA! Ellicott actually began as an urban equine hospital before converting to a companion animal hospital in the early 1900s. They’ve been committed to providing the highest standards of medical care throughout their long and storied history.

Want to be a part of history? Check out Ellicott Street Animal Hospital for your next Roo Uni externship!

West Side Pet Clinic

Buffalo is a city with significant socio-economic diversity, and to serve parts of the community who need help most while keeping costs low, Dr. Stevens opened a second hospital, West Side Pet Clinic, 8 years ago.

“When the best medicine is out of reach, it is important to be able to meet the pet and owner where they are. To do that, we have to understand where the client is coming from and prioritize the options for care for their pet,” says Dr. Stevens. West Side Pet Clinic is set up to provide high quality medicine at a lower cost by focusing on basic care.

If you’re looking for a rewarding experience providing care to a part of the community who needs it most, check out this very special externship. 

North Buffalo Animal Hospital

If you’re looking for something at the other end of the history spectrum than Ellicott, you won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to extern at a brand new animal hospital!

North Buffalo Animal hospital opened in June 2023 on the northern edge of the city, so it’s just over 6 months old today. If you want experience working at a brand new and growing practice, this could be an exciting externship opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

All of these hospitals in Buffalo, New York host exceptional vet student externships on the Roo Uni platform with a lot to offer.

What do doctors look for in their vet student externs?

According to Ross Powell, who runs university outreach for VPP hospitals, doctors are looking for active students who will ask questions and get involved. Standing against the wall and chatting with assistants isn’t the greatest way to spend your limited time as an extern, and this doesn’t do the vet student or the hospital any favors. Be engaged in what’s going on and ask a lot of questions. Help out wherever you can, and keep a good attitude. It’s also important that student externs never act like they’re above a task, even if they’re being asked to do vet assistant work.

Following these tips will result in more opportunities for a vet student to actively participate and get hands-on experience, which is the best thing you can get out of externships.

What duties and responsibilities can vet student externs take on?

Students can do most things at VPP hospitals as long as they’re covered under a PLIT. If your school doesn’t offer liability insurance, the AVMA offers free liability insurance for students that’s easy to get started with.

Being professional and a good communicator open the door to taking on more responsibilities in vet student externships. What your veterinarian mentors allow you to help out with depends on the above advice of being an active advocate for your own education as well as being vocal about your experience and comfort levels going in. We always recommend meeting with hospital managers and the veterinarian who will be overseeing you before your externship to make sure everyone’s expectations are in the same place. Ask clinic-specific questions, and use your introductory meeting to tell the doctor overseeing you about yourself. Make sure they know what you’re capable of!

Dr. Reed Stevens’ advice for a successful externship

As a vet student, it’s important to have good mentors in your corner, and Dr. Reed Stevens is one of the best, making his externships valuable learning experiences that can shape your career. When choosing the right externship, always make sure both the hospital and the doctor are a good fit. You want mentors with great communication skills that are willing to take the time to talk with you, and this is Dr. Stevens’ strong suit.

Dr. Stevens practices medicine with an emphasis on effective and compassionate communication with the client — an extremely important and oft-overlooked piece of veterinary medicine. This is a crucial skill to learn early, and the same attention and care Dr. Stevens shows when communicating with clients, he shows to his vet student mentees as well, making him an ideal doctor to learn under. 

Dr. Stevens’ top advice for his veterinary student externs seems simple, and it may even be something you’ve heard before: practice makes perfect. “The greatest moment of fear for every new DVM grad is putting their hand on the doorknob going into the exam room or the surgery suite,” says Dr. Stevens. “You know all of the possibilities but few of the probabilities. And you fear that this case could be your worst-case scenario. The best, perhaps only, way through this is to get in there, over and over again. The sooner you can diminish that fear (spoiler alert: it never goes away) the more freedom to practice you will allow yourself.”

Why travel to Buffalo?

If you’ve ever known a person from Buffalo, you know they’re disappointed with Buffalo wings just about anywhere. Could buffalo wings possibly be so good in Buffalo, NY that all other wings simply pale in comparison? Yes. The answer is yes. You gotta taste ‘em to believe it, but the difference is real. Buffalo wings are just better in Buffalo.      

One of Buffalo’s most legendary neighbors is Niagara Falls, a natural wonder unlike anything else on Earth. It’s seriously worth the visit, especially if you’re externing this close. Maid of the Mist is the classic boat tour that will get you up close and personal with the falls — you even get a souvenir rain poncho to keep afterwards! Return at night for something truly special: Both the Canadian and American side of the falls put on competing fireworks shows most nights, which are spectacular to watch.

VPP, Buffalo New York, and Dr. Reed Stevens all have so much to offer vet students, and this only covers a few of the incredible externships Roo Uni has to offer. Most of all, we hope you have an incredible experience and build relationships that you carry with you throughout your career. Go Roo!

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