While in Belize, I volunteered with the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC). Their mission is to support wildlife conservation; animal health and welfare; and the veterinary profession in Belize through medical services, education, research, and collaboration. During my time at BWRC, I was astounded by how much I learned from Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand. I sat through Dr. Isabelles' lessons to the students of BWRC and learned a lot, due to Dr. Isabelle's effective teaching. There are many opportunities to get involved with BWRC. While I was at BWRC, there were four interns and a group of students. BWRC offers a few courses in Wildlife Medicine & Conservation, as well as a course in Small Animal Veterinary Experience. At BWRC, students receive lectures, labs and clinical training in preparation for community health and spay & neuter clinics. Public health and outreach clinics are conducted in and around San Ignacio and Belize City. Students travel to various locations in Belize to conduct Animal Health Clinics, Educational Outreach, and Community Spay & Neuter Clinics in partnership with animal welfare organizations and veterinary clinics around Belize.
In addition to the courses, BWRC offers internships. The aim of the BWRC internships is to develop students’ and interns’ clinical skills including patient intake, physical examinations, compiling medical records, diagnoses, diagnostic testing and interpretation, and selecting and administering appropriate treatments. The internship experience also addresses clear and professional communication both internally with clinic staff and with clients as relevant.
My duties as a volunteer included assisting the interns with their daily chores or feeding the animals, cleaning the enclosures, tidying the facilities, and any other general tasks asked of me. In addition, I was able to watch some small procedures, listen to their professional diagnoses, and learn to read x-rays.
I had an excellent experience at BWRC!