HOW TO BECOME A CHAPTER
Please provide a chapter constitution, a letter from your veterinary school or student club regulating body stating that your chapter club is official, and contact information for the chapter's officers/executive and faculty adviser. Chapters are welcome to use the sample chapter constitution provided on the 'Chapter Constitution' page as a guideline for this purpose.
Please send all completed forms and information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUIDELINES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR SVECCS CHAPTERS
- Student chapters should hold at least one meeting per month. It is recommended that the first meeting be an introduction of the new officers and a description of what the club is about and activities that are planned for the future. It is helpful to prepare handouts for this meeting with the officer's contact information and any other pertinent club information (such as a tentative schedule including meetings, wetlabs and field trips, a link to the national SVECCS website, / emergency team instructions, IVECCS conference info., etc.). During the meeting make sure to send around a signup sheet to gather everyone's name and email address. Also, remind members to pay their SCAVMA and club dues.
- These meetings should be speaker presentations on emergency and critical care related topics.
LOGISTICS ON PLANNING FOR MEETINGS
- The first objective in setting up a meeting is to pick a date and time. Lunch meetings are recommended because attendance is typically higher. If having a lunch meeting, make sure to pick a day when the freshmen, sophomore, and junior lunch times overlap. As a suggestion, try to pick dates when there are the least amount of exams (attendance drops around exam crunch time) and the least amount of interference with other club meetings (hopefully your school has a billboard where clubs can write in their scheduled meeting times ahead of time). You may also want to provide lunch (highly recommended). Decide ahead of time whether your budget allows enough money for food, and whether food will be for everyone or members only.
- If you plan your meetings at least 6 weeks in advance, which is recommended, and do not have adequate funding to provide lunch for members, we recommend you contact the relevant drug and food reps at your school to ask for sponsorship. They are usually easy to contact, their requirements are few, and we have received upwards of $300 for meetings from Purina, Novartis, Hill's, Bayer and other companies.
- Once you have a speaker scheduled, announce the meeting (through email, club meetings, and through the SVECCS class reps) and find out how many people plan to attend the meeting. Send out meeting sign-up sheets (assign your SVECCS class reps to send them around and hand them back to you) or ask for email replies from those planning to attend. This should take place approximately one week beforehand and an additional reminder e-mail should go out 48 hours in advance for
- Your school may require you to fill out Event Planning Forms prior to each meeting and club activity. Make sure you fill out and turn in these forms at least two weeks in advance. Also, make sure to reserve a meeting room in advance (the Student Services office should have room schedules).
- Plan to contact speakers before school starts or early in the semester to find out their availability as well as any speaker fees they may request. Some speakers prefer to give a talk on their area of interest, while some will ask for your suggestions. You can also ask speakers to give case presentations on interesting emergency/critical care cases they have worked on.
- Try to have as wide variety of speakers as possible. Some ideas for different speakers to contact include: interns / residents in your school, private practitioners and specialists from emergency hospitals, veterinarians from the poison control center, senior students who have taken externships in emergency medicine, researchers in the area of emergency/critical care vet. Med., etc. Find out from your previous club officers if they recommend any speakers from the previous years as well as check the National SVECCS website for recommended speakers.
- Student chapters should have at least one wet lab in either the fall or spring semester. Some suggestions for wet lab activities include:
- CPR training
- Teaching emergency procedures such as: placing catheters, placing endotracheal or tracheotomy tubes, taking blood pressures, thoracocentesis, bandaging etc
- If you plan to use cadavers for your wet lab, the best place to start is your anatomy lab instructors. They may be able to salvage cadavers for you or provide you with phone numbers, such as local animal shelters, where they receive cadavers from. They may also allow you to temporarily store cadavers in freezers, use the anatomy lab for the wet lab, and can provide information on school policies. Make sure to find out before hand on proper disposal of cadavers as well. Speak to as many people before hand to make sure you are adhering to school policies, and don't forget those event planning forms!
- Before each fund raising event, find out school rules from your Student Services office and fill out event planning forms. Some fund raising ideas include:
- Ask student company representatives to have their companies sponsor SVECCS club meetings or talks (do this as early in the semester as possible)!
- Sell SVECCS Chapter Apparel and merchandise.
- Put together Veterinary Emergency and First Aid Kits (rectal thermometer, cheap stethoscopes, pen-light, and information handouts on checking for pet vital signs, CPR) and sell to students around the school and the public.
- Chapter Bake Sales
- If your school allows clubs to have a billboard, it is recommended that you update the billboard with club calendars, contact info, announcements, etc. You may also want to put interesting monthly emergency cases, Fun Facts, or other interesting content on the billboard.
- The International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium (IVECCS) is held in September and attendance is highly recommended. Please provide members with conference information and the conference web-site (refer to IVECCS page of SVECCS website) as early in the semester as possible to encourage people to attend. Also, announce IVECCS information again in the end of the spring semester to encourage members to plan on attending the conference in their following school year. IVECCS allows SVECCS members to volunteer at the conference and thereby waive conference attendance fees. In addition, free lunches are provided daily as well as a great opportunity to network with critical care interns, residents, specialists and potential future employers. Student Volunteer forms can be found on-line a few months before the conference. Plan fund raising activities in order to help financially support SVECCS members that are planning to attend.
- The national SVECCS president will contact student chapters in the beginning of the school year (or preferably at election time) to update the national SVECCS website with new officer and club information. Make sure to make this website known to all club members, as there may be helpful information on the website, such as emergency medicine externship opportunities, information on SVECCS club chapters, etc.
STUDENT LARGE ANIMAL AND/OR SMALL ANIMAL EMERGENCY TEAM
- If possible, set up a system that allows club members to participate in or observe emergencies that come into the hospital. Speak to your adviser about the logistics of setting up an emergency team. Here is one recommended method to set up the student emergency team program:
- Set up a training session for students that would like to participate in the Emergency Team to familiarize them with the ICU, introduce ICU staff, explain emergency physical exams/assessments and explain responsibilities, location of materials, proper dress codes, etc.
- Have student members sign up for one day out of the month to be on-call for emergencies (choose a time block that works best). Students seem most inclined to sign up if they can have a partner, thus you may want to consider having two members sign up for one emergency shift.
- Elect an emergency team coordinator (one for Small Animal, one for Large) that will work out the emergency team schedule and provide the schedule with contact information to the ICU
- Coordinate with the ICU (speak with whoever is in charge of calling/paging students for incoming emergency cases) and ask them to additionally contact the student(s) that are signed up for the certain emergency time block
CASE OF THE MONTH TEAM
- Another idea you may want to incorporate in your club activities is to have a Case of the Month Team. Assign a small group of student members to pick an interesting current emergency case in the hospital, and gather information on the case to display on the billboard.
- For example, you may want to display the following information on the case: brief history, clinical signs, display bloodwork values / radiographs/ ultrasound and/or other test findings with brief descriptions on the abnormal values, and explain treatment.
- Make sure you permission is obtained before hand to present the case (and follow all school policies, such as keeping blocking out all client personal information when copying medical records).
- If your school holds a yearly Open House event, you are encouraged to participate! Open House is a fun and educational experience for the public that allows them to explore your school and gain information on different aspects of veterinary medicine. Often people love to bring their kids, so it is advantageous to pick an activity that is fun for kids and provide helpful information on emergency medicine for adults. Some ideas include:
- Have stethoscopes and friendly canine volunteers to allow kids to listen to heart rates
- Have canine / feline dummies that you can demonstrate and allow people to perform basic CPR
- Provide information using billboard and handouts on at home emergency procedures (such as how to take temperatures, how to feel for a pulse, perform CPR, phone number to poison control, etc).
- Display items that are toxic to pets at home (grapes, chocolate, onions, Ethylene glycol, certain nuts, plants, etc) and provide info.
- If a parade is occurring, participate as an animal ambulatory service (Purdue's SVECCS officers did this with our pets, and it sure was fun!)
- Ideas for setting up field trips include:
- local emergency and specialty hospitals
- ASPCA Poison Control Center
- Elections should be held in the spring semester, preferably in March. The officer positions include:
- Vice president
- Fund Raiser
- Student Representatives for each class
- Emergency Team Coordinator
- For a description of officer duties, please see example constitution.