Banfield Pet Hospital aims to help ease vet shortage with ‘NextVet’ internship program

The NextVet program has a total of 15 trainees in eight cities across the United States.

PORTLAND, OR (KOIN) – If you have a four-legged friend, you may have noticed that it has become more difficult to go to the vet, because there just aren’t enough of them at the moment.

Banfield Pet Hospital, founded in Portland and headquartered in Vancouver, hopes to remedy this problem through its NextVet program.

Thomas Cha learns all the ins and outs of becoming a veterinarian. He was chosen from a wide range of applicants to be a NextVet intern for the summer.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was little. So if you give me this opportunity, I will take it seriously,” Cha said in his video submission for the internship program, which shows him caring for and training his grandparents’ dog.

Banfield veterinarian Andrea Sanchez says the training skills of the recent Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School graduate stood out.

“Just a remarkable amount of initiative and showing that real amount of intentionality and interest in the profession, which is so above and beyond,” Sanchez said.

Cha says he learned a lot from the program.

“[I’ve] learned how to prepare vaccines, how to hold dogs while they have blood drawn or given vaccines,” he said.

This is the first year of the NextVet program, with 15 trainees in total in eight cities across the United States.

Sanchez says Banfield is trying to get ahead of the vet shortage, knowing that students like Cha have years of schooling before getting their vet license.

“We have to not only think about now and next month, how are we going to close this gap, but in three years, five years, 10 years – how are we going to have the profession that has the right ratio and the right number of providers of care,” Sanchez said.

Cha is leaving for Washington State University soon, but he hopes to spend his future summers here at Banfield.

“It’s just been a great experience so far and hopefully over the years I can come back here and come and work at Banfield,” he said.

To learn more about the NextVet program, visit this site.

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