Small Animal Rotating Internship 2022-2023 Year
Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for your interest in Friendship! Below is a list of the most common questions we get about the internship. This is based on the 2021-2022 intern class year. We are always looking for ways to enhance our program, so some of this may be subject to change.
Table of Conents
Friendship is a great place to do an internship! We have a long history (the internship is over 35 years old!) of graduating interns ready to move into specialty internships, residencies, successful emergency or general practice careers. Since our founding in 1936, Friendship has been dedicated to practicing high quality, progressive medicine.
Our goal is to occupy a space between a university setting and traditional private practice to allow for exposure to a high caseload as well as to mentor and strengthen an intern’s knowledge base and clinical skill set. Friendship espouses the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) and AVMA position that “The primary purpose of an internship is to provide an educational program for the intern, rather than a service benefit to the hospital.” Our team of specialists, emergency doctors and general practitioners are dedicated to providing an excellent learning opportunity for the interns.
Our interns have the opportunity to experience primary case responsibility with a high caseload through their emergency receiving blocks (as well as some primary case responsibility for inpatients on Internal Medicine), however Friendship’s is a truly rotating internship allowing the intern an opportunity to learn from many specialists and general practitioners. Friendship is structured in such a way that we do not rely on the interns in order for our hospital to function and care for our patient load (however, we definitely feel like we “need” the internship because it is so important to the culture and values of the hospital).
We are practicing cutting edge medicine and are well-connected to academia and other institutions throughout the industry. Being a hybrid practice, our patients can receive comprehensive care including primary care, emergency and specialty all under one roof with a collaborative team focused on the patient’s best interests! We also believe that an intern benefits greatly from the ability to rotate through the primary care/general practice service which is pretty unique to FHA. If you are advancing to a progressive primary care practice after the internship, this is obviously invaluable time. However, we also believe it is incredibly important for those advancing to emergency or specialty positions to experience time in the general practice setting to understand the dynamics of the referral process and how to best work with general practitioners in the future as well as gain valuable communication and relationship building skills.
In addition to 13 primary care veterinarians, 15 urgent care veterinarians, three surgical interns, an ophthalmology intern, two certified rehab practitioners (CCRP), and a social worker (LSW), our continuously growing team includes:
Micki Armour, VMD, DACVO
Laura Barbur, DVM, DACVS-SA
Lindsay Boozer, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology-Neurosurgery)
Janine Calabro, DVM, DACVECC
Nicole Cohen, DVM, DABVP (Canine & Feline)
Chelsea del Alcazar, VMD, DACVIM (Oncology)
Karina Creighton, BVSc (Hons), DACVECC
Tovah Dorsey, DVM (Practice limited to Emergency & Critical Care)
Amanda Foskett, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
JD Foster, VMD, DACVIM (SAIM)
Stephen Garofolo, DVM, DACVS-SA
Mathieu Glassman, VMD, DACVS-SA
Allison Haley, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology-Neurosurgery)
Elyshia Hankin, BVSc, MS (Hons), DACVR
Muhammad Harfoush, BVSc (Practice Limited to Emergency & Critical Care)
Courtney Horn, PharmD
Denise Kelley, DVM, DACVIM
Morgan Kelley, DVM (Practice Limited to Emergency & Critical Care)
Dana Kuehn, DVM, DABVP (Canine & Feline)
Christine Klippen, DVM, DABVP (Canine & Feline)
Darcie Kunder, VMD, DACVD
Eric Langfitt, DVM (Practice Limited to Emergency & Critical Care)
Nicole Luensman, DVM, MS, cVMA, DACVAA
Mei Lun Mui, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)
Jenna Luzier, LGSW
Lisa Murphy, MVB, DVM, DACVECC
Tracie Romsland, DVM, DACVP (Clinical Pathology)
Emily Shea, VMD, DACVIM (SAIM)
Erick Spencer, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)
Maggie Thies, DVM (Practice Limited to Emergency & Critical Care)
While over the years, the structure and goals of the internship have changed, Friendship has always been focused on high quality medicine. The rotating internship is one way for Friendship to stay up to date on the newest information in the veterinary field by constantly interacting with new graduates. It keeps our focus on staying progressive.
The internship also puts an emphasis throughout the hospital on teaching/training.
The program allows Friendship the opportunity to give back to the industry, by helping to shape new veterinarians and give them a solid foundation to build on toward a successful career whether they pursue specialty medicine, general practice, emergency, or other options within the field.
While we usually encourage applicants to visit Friendship we will not be having visitors during COVID. We do not routinely perform in person interviews during the application process in normal years. We will perform all internship interviews via Zoom in January. All applicants who meet our minimum standards will be sent an invitation for an interview.
Since we cannot have visitors due to COVID-19 protocols, we have uploaded some pictures of the hospital that can be found here:
All intern candidates that wish to be considered for ranking and are selected for interview, must participate in an interview with us during January (unless special circumstances exist and other arrangements are made). Even if you have previously visited Friendship, externed, or even worked here as a team member, this time is required for consideration. We prefer Zoom, however, we can also use another video chat service such as FaceTime, etc, should you not have access to Zoom.
Interviews will be conducted during designated weeks in January from 7:30am-6:45pm Eastern time with availability on weekdays and weekends. If you are completely unable to be available during these times and are invited to interview, you should respond to the invite to let the internship committee know. We will do our best to find a time before ranks are due to set up a Zoom interview with at least two members of the selection committee. This should only be done if it is impossible to set up an interview during the preset times.
We typically have three to four members of the Friendship team at each interview. The Hospital Director and two to three veterinarians or members of our management team will participate. Each Friendship team member in your interview will have reviewed your application packet in advance. This page will be updated to include a link here that will give you access to the plan for who will participate in interviews on which days, barring any unforeseen emergencies. Please note this will be subject to change, but we do our best to follow this schedule once we link it here.
The first part will consist of basic interview questions to determine your fit at Friendship. We will go through some questions to see how well you can integrate into the Friendship team. This is vitally important as we believe teamwork is as important as practicing high quality medicine.
The second part will be a case or medical review. We will likely present a case for you to work through with our veterinarians. The point of the case is not necessarily to get immediately to the correct answers (or to get to them at all) but to see your ability to work through the information. Relax and do your best to process what is presented to you. We understand that not everyone has been through certain clinical rotations or been exposed to specific information/situations.
The final portion of the interview will be a chance for you to ask any questions you have about Friendship and/or the internship.
As applications are complete/near complete, we will evaluate them against our interview selection criteria. We will send interview invitations out on a rolling basis. However, because applications need to be complete or near complete, do not be discouraged if you do not immediately receive an invitation. Often we are waiting on transcripts or recommendations to make decisions to send out invites. Candidates will be able to schedule their interview online at any time after receiving the interview request. However, all interviews will be held between January 17 and February 4, 2022.
During the application window, applications are reviewed as they are submitted. We attempt to extend interviews to as many candidates as possible. We believe that a strong fit for our internship cannot be determined on paper.
If your application meets our pre-set criteria, you will automatically receive an interview invitation. If your application does not meet the minimum threshold to receive an automatic interview invitation, it will be reviewed by our internship committee to determine if an interview invitation should be sent. Once the application window closes, all applications that have not already received an interview request will be reviewed. At this time, depending on the total applicant pool, our criteria may be tightened or loosened for interviews. We will also take a second look at any earlier applications and we may extend additional invitations, given the interview slots still available.
Therefore, there is likely a very slight advantage to applying early to secure an interview spot as the criteria may tighten based on the final pool of candidates. Also, if you apply early and are selected, you will have the advantage of having more options available for interview time slots. However, we will open more interview spots if we have a large pool of late applicants.
Friendship is happy to sponsor visas for well-qualified applicants. For those outside of Canada and Mexico, we work with an experienced immigration attorney to help expedite the process. For Canadian and Mexican citizens, the process is far less complicated and we will work internally with you to get everything taken care of prior to starting your internship. Friendship has had numerous international interns throughout the years. It will be important for matched foreign interns to be well organized after match day to meet all of the deadlines to be authorized to work at Friendship by the start of orientation.
Friendship will see/stabilize exotic patients through our urgent care service and then refer them to local exotics practitioners. This caseload is very small. We do not routinely perform wellness care for exotic pets.
For intern candidates specifically interested in exotics, there are opportunities to use elective time at local exotics specialty practices or at the Smithsonian National Zoo.
Washington, DC, can certainly be a bit more expensive than some other places in the country, however, our interns are able to find great housing options throughout the metropolitan area. Some interns will find apartments inside DC, while others will live in the Maryland suburbs of Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, or Takoma Park. Friendship is located just one mile inside the DC line and ½ block from the Tenleytown-American University stop on the red line of the Metro. Many affordable communities are located along the Metro. There are also Metro bus stops close to the hospital.
While many interns find housing close by to the hospital, some choose to live a little further away due to family housing or other reasons. The interns schedule and on-call requirements are described below. However, as long as the intern can make it into the hospital within 45-60 minutes when all call, they will not have a problem with their housing choice.
Structured orientation for the interns consists of about one and a half weeks in June. During this time, the interns will go through basic new team orientation/human resources functions and get information about how the hospital works-- meeting with various team members, learning the computer system, and other important information. This typically takes a few days. There are also labs and didactic rounds and shadowing of the outgoing interns and/or staff doctors to understand workflow. Once the formal orientation is complete, the new interns will spend approximately a week and a half to two weeks overlapping with the outgoing class in clinics. Overall, there will be a total of 3 weeks of formal orientation and overlap time.
Yes! All interns will be assigned an official mentor for the year. After the match, we will send out a survey to all of our new interns asking additional questions about your long term career goals. This will help us to determine who the best match will be to help mentees be successful throughout their time in the program. Additionally, in each rotation, interns are being directly mentored by specialists, emergency doctors and general practitioners in order to strengthen their clinical skills.
Mentors/Mentees meet at the beginning of the year to set up an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to help shape the relationship and the individual interns' needs. After that, the pair meet regularly to help guide them through the year. Preparation for specialty internship/residency match (if applicable), as well as other skills and knowledge development will be enhanced through this relationship. Our mentors are keen to help our interns succeed both within the internship and beyond.
Yes! Interns have primary case responsibility on several of the blocks. On their overnight emergency receiving blocks the intern is the primary doctor caring for outpatients (with a staff doctor always present for guidance). On emergency/critical care blocks, interns have the opportunity to have primary case responsibility on in-hospital cases and outpatient receiving (with the guidance of Criticalists and staff emergency doctors). Interns also have primary case responsibility for inpatient transfers on the Internal Medicine service blocks. Interns have varying amounts of case responsibility on each of the specialties.
Interns receive a tremendous amount of tissue handling experience performing laceration repairs on emergency receiving. Friendship sees approximately 550-600 laceration repairs per year, many of which are quite extensive and can provide a tremendous amount of complex tissue handling. Interns perform most of the laceration repairs on the emergency service. Typically, interns will scrub in on specialty surgery and emergency surgeries to assist the specialty or staff surgeons. Interns can also use elective time to go to the Humane Rescue Alliance or other shelter programs to perform high volume spay/neuter surgeries.
Good, you are reading this! Our secret password for the interview is Collaborate. We chose Collaborate as our secret word because of the focus we place on teamwork and collaboration at Friendship. Our team is, by far, our greatest asset. Having a high caseload, MRI, CT, fluoroscopy, dialysis machines, a ventilator and other fancy equipment is great, but it's the strength of our team of doctors and support staff and the way we collaborate on cases that makes us unique.
You will need the password-- Collaborate-- if you are selected for an interview with Friendship! We will ask you at the beginning of the interview if you had a chance to read over the FAQs, when we ask that question, please let us know that the password is Collaborate
The schedule is broken down into 14 four week blocks that flow in a specific order. Each intern starts on a different block and will follow the same schedule rotation from whichever point they started the year. There are some services that have a full block and some that have split blocks. The schedule may have some adjustments before being finalized, but is likely to be two blocks each of internal medicine (including dialysis), critical care/emergency, overnight emergency receiving, and elective time, 1 block each of neurology, specialty surgery, cardiology, oncology, primary care (including general surgery and dentistry), there is one split block of ophthalmology and dermatology. Please note, when on-call, you are only on-call for certain days of the block-- a total of 28 throughout the year, only 8 of which are days you are not scheduled to work at the hospital.
Below you will see an example schedule. Each intern would start at a different point within the schedule and follow it from there. Each block is 4 weeks long. There may be slight changes as we finalize the year:
4 Weeks: 3 nights, 4 nights, 3 nights, 4 nights
Depends on program
Yes, weekends on call
Depends on program
Urgent Care 1
Thurs-Fri AM, Sat-Mon evening
Yes (see below)
4 Weeks: 4 overnights, 3 overnights, 4 overnights, 3 overnights
Primary Care, General Surgery and Dentistry
Yes (see below)
Ophthalmology and Dermatology
2 weeks each, Mon-Fri
Urgent Care 2
For the 2021-2022 intern cohort, the interns on Primary Care and Neurology split on call during the week, either M/W/F or Tu/Th.
There is elective time that can be spent either inside or outside the hospital, but no core rotations are outside the hospital. Interns are not required to spend time outside of the hospital if they choose elective time inside FHA.
Yes! Interns receive eight weeks of elective time during the year. This time can be used to spend additional time in the hospital in areas of specific interest or to go out to gain experiences not available within the hospital. We are fairly liberal with what we will allow interns to do with their elective time as long as it supports their education. Interns have used elective time for additional time on in-hospital rotations or outside of the hospital for behavior, shelter medicine, exotics, research, radiation oncology, and other areas of interest. We maintain strong relationships with the local humane society, the National Zoo, and the few specialties we do not house within Friendship and can help arrange the elective time.
All blocks except overnights have five day work weeks with two days off per week. Overnights are alternating 3 or 4 day work weeks with 3 or 4 days off. With the exception of the times you are on-call, days off are days off and interns have no responsibilities at the hospital. On-call is detailed below.
Interns are not on-call for most blocks. However, on a few blocks, interns will be called in to assist in emergency surgeries.
We split on-call between multiple blocks so that interns will not have to be on-call without a break during a block. The on-call is set at the beginning of the year and interns are permitted to trade on-call days. Each intern will be on call 28 days for the year. Most on-call days are days they are already scheduled to work, there are just 8 weekend days of on-call that would normally be days off throughout the year.
Interns do not need to live very close to the hospital in order to meet their on-call responsibilities. While many interns can find affordable housing fairly close to the hospital, as long as an intern can make it into work within 45-60 minutes, their housing choices should not be limited based on on-call responsibilities.
Interns have ten days of paid time off throughout the year. These days can be used for vacation, sick time or other personal reasons. Time off cannot be used during emergency receiving or overnight shifts, though interns have switched shifts amongst themselves in emergency situations.
No! During the day-time Critical Care/Emergency receiving rotations, interns are working directly with the Criticalists with inpatients or are receiving cases under the guidance of our emergency doctors. On overnights, interns are working with a staff emergency doctor every night of the week. On overnights, interns will typically be the doctor receiving incoming cases, whereas, the staff doctor will be caring for the inpatients and providing mentorship for the intern. However, if a number of cases present at the same time, the staff doctor will help support the load so the intern is not overwhelmed.
Yes! Interns receive a performance evaluation and feedback after each block as well as direct feedback while on rotations. Friendship also seeks anonymous input from interns about the program regularly throughout the year in order to strengthen it both during the current year and in subsequent years.
Each block, the intern is evaluated on the following criteria (each have subcategories for assessment):
While each intern enters the program with different goals in mind and Friendship customizes mentorship to help reach those goals, we believe that every intern should complete the year as a much stronger veterinarian with a well-rounded foundation to launch their career. Friendship strives to maintain best practice in all that we do. While we are a private practice, Friendship used the AAVMC’s guidelines for internships at academic institutions to establish a list of Entrustable Professional Activities that we expect all interns will display competency in by the end of their year with us.
The Entrustable Professional Activities that we believe each intern will possess at the end of their year with Friendship, regardless of career path, match those recommended to academic internships, and include but are not limited to the following:
1. Performs an accurate, comprehensive assessment of a new patient
2. Creates an initial diagnostic and treatment plan for an ill patient with an unknown condition
3. Communicates complex or potentially upsetting information about a patient to a client
4. Amends treatment plans of a hospitalized patient based on patient information and best practice
5. Prioritizes treatment and diagnostic plans based on client resources and/or patient status
6. Maintains accurate, timely medical records
7. Communicates effectively and professionally with medical team members, clients, and referral community
8. Manages minor wounds and lacerations
FHA encourages interested interns to consider research projects and publication. However, we want interns to be realistic about what can be accomplished prior to December (residency application deadlines), particularly in a busy private practice. FHA has had searchable electronic medical records for quite some time, so a retrospective study is a possibility. Case reports or imaging/pathology reports (e.g. What is your diagnosis? reports in JAVMA) would likely be the easiest type of manuscript to prepare in that timeframe.
FHA is currently participating in or scheduled to launch several clinical trials and other studies which the interns can participate in.
In the event that you match for a residency or specialty internship that has a start date prior to the end of the internship, you will be able to leave early in order to start your next position. We will work with you to determine an appropriate end date after match results.
Friendship believes that didactic teaching, in addition to our high caseload, is an important part of building the foundation for interns. The following is a fairly comprehensive list of all rounds and journal clubs. Some are mandatory and interns are marked off of clinical duties for them. Some are dependent upon the rotation that the intern is currently assigned.
Patient transfer rounds:
Patient transfer rounds are held three times per day, to coincide with shift changes for doctors. Morning rounds (overnight updates and case distribution) are at 7:30am daily. Brief rounds for inpatient transfer to swing shift and overnight doctors are held at approximately 4pm and between 10pm and midnight. Specialists are present for morning and afternoon rounds.
Didactic rounds specifically for the interns with specialists are held on average six times per month (Currently Wednesday and every other Tuesday morning). These rounds are required for all interns unless they are on out-rotations during an elective block or have requested an excused absence.
CVT rounds are held twice per month. All interns rotate through presenting assigned chapters from Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XV.
Hospital-wide Morbidity & Mortality rounds are typically held once quarterly
All interns are required to make one presentation during the year (generally in November or December).
Surgery once weekly
Oncology once weekly
Internal Medicine once weekly
Surgical Oncology once monthly
In total, there are currently about 22 didactic rounds or journal club sessions per month in addition to cageside/clinical rounds.
Friendship has maintained an excellent match rate. In the last 5 years, we had 26 interns apply for advanced training programs - 11 interns (42%) went directly into residencies and 14 went into specialty internships, for a total of 25/26 applications (96%) accepting positions in an advanced training program. Five of the 11 people who went from FHA into a specialty internship are currently in those programs. Seven of our 9 internship graduates who completed specialty internships after leaving FHA subsequently accepted residency positions. This match rate has remained equivalent to or higher than the average match rates of the academic institutions. In the past there have been times that factors like specific location/geographic preferences have impacted the ability to match for an applicant. Some folks may only apply to a single program, for example, and do not pursue multiple options or look for placement outside the match. Generally speaking, a well qualified candidate in our program should have no problem moving on to a residency or specialty internship in their field after a rotating internship at Friendship.
Friendship staff doctors maintain close relationships with their colleagues in academia and at large, high quality private practices. We are happy to connect well qualified candidates with these institutions.
Yes! After we match and survey about their interests, we will attempt to set up the schedule in such a way that an intern looking to specialize in a particular area will rotate through appropriate services so that they may ask for letters of recommendation from the board-certified specialists to strengthen their application.
Friendship can typically accommodate interns using their paid time off for residency interviews or job interviews. Interns will also sometimes switch shifts amongst themselves in order to use days to do this.
Friendship’s specialists, staff doctors, and management will help interns interested in applying for residencies with their application preparation.
Friendship management meets with the intern class during a rounds session usually in late January or early February to discuss how to evaluate a potential clinic for employment; how to read job offers and how to negotiate for pay and benefits. Friendship will provide current information about the state of the industry and help with job placement. Friendship management is happy to assist interns in evaluating job offers as they receive them.
Friendship maintains strong relationships with hospitals and clinics locally as well as across the United States to help make connections for job placement.
Friendship has been expanding rapidly over the last several years. We are currently looking to expand by adding additional Cardiologists, Radiologists, and Anesthesiologists to our team. There are a few other current specialties we are evaluating and we may expand further. While we are hopeful to fill these positions, we take our time to find the best fit. Therefore, a ranking decision should not be made based on these openings.
Friendship is proud to have had a small animal rotating internship since 1984 that has grown throughout the years. We have had over 195 interns complete the program and go on to a variety of careers-- diverse paths such as specialty, general practice, emergency medicine, practice ownership, government, public health and corporate services are all represented among our internship alumni!
Specialties represented by our intern alumni are as follows:
Emergency and Critical Care
In recent years, Friendship’s applicants have come from every AVMA-accredited school in the United States and many from throughout the world. Friendship’s former interns represent 32 different AVMA accredited schools.
We are a leader in comprehensive animal healthcare that improves the wellbeing of our patients, clients, team members and community.
To be the most medically progressive animal hospital in the country while adhering to our core values.
Our Core Values:
The Friendship Family:
twenty-four hours every day.
diversity of our clients and our team.
Our Service Standards:
In addition to practicing the highest quality, collaborative medicine for our patients, Friendship wants to live up to the highest of levels of service for our clients. In every interaction, Friendship strives to live up to those standards that our clients have come to expect. We have, therefore. set up the FHA CARES Service Standards to guide our decisions and ways in which we interact with our clients.
Our clients expect us to be:
Currently, due to COVID, we are not accepting internship visits. We will reevaluate as things progress and look forward to allowing visitors to our hospital.
Yes! We encourage you to reach out to one or more of our current rotating interns to discuss the program. Though the program is reviewed annually and changes are made from year to year, the current intern class can give you a good idea about the workings of the program, learning opportunities, support provided and the culture of the hospital. The current intern class can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This is likely the quickest way to get an answer, as the first intern available will respond.
We will hold internship information sessions via Zoom for FHA and the other Encore Veterinary Group internship programs on the following dates:
Wednesday, November 10th at 6:30 PM EST
Wednesday December 8th at 6:30 PM EST
We will walk through details about the internship as well as answer any questions during that time.
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In addition to your complete VIRMP packet including personal statement, transcripts and letters of recommendation, Friendship relies on our interview process to determine the right fit for our internship class. We are looking for individuals who are interested in collaborating, working hard, who will be able to integrate into our culture as a hospital. Friendship interns develop lifelong relationships with FHA team members. We always say “Once you are one of us, you are always one of us.” Therefore, we want applicants who will not only be great doctors, but also great team members that we can work with throughout the year and stay connected with throughout their careers, whether you stay on at Friendship and are part of our “immediate family” or go on to practice at other institutions and are part of the “extended family.”
Once interviews are complete, the internship selection group will meet to discuss and finalize our ranking decisions. We will not disclose those rankings to applicants to adhere to VIRMP responsibilities. This does not mean you are not ranked highly (or even number 1). We will not ask you to disclose your rankings at any time to avoid any violation of VIRMP rules.
When making ranking decisions, it is important to think about several things:
Remember, no matter where you match, you get out of it what you put in! You have decided to take this year to invest in yourself. Make the most of it! Work hard. Establish methods to organize your time. Learn a lot. Find mentors. Have Fun! Rember to relax.