Humane Alliance

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High-volume, high-quality spay/neuter clinic training, incorporating surgical practice.
Humane Alliance is a leader in high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter, performing around 23,000 surgeries per year at its location in Asheville, NC. The organization is dedicated to ending shelter pet overpopulation through widespread education and training of efficient techniques.

Both Humane Alliance externships (Extern program: two weeks, 80 hours; and Extern Plus program: three weeks, 120 hours) are designed to deliver an overall experience of the operation of a high-volume, high quality spay/neuter facility.

On the Extern program, students receive training on not only our veterinarians’ duties, but also those of our RVTs, assistants, and transport drivers, including: disease control, patient assessment and selection, behavior, patient preparation, mechanics of sterile surgical technique, record keeping, anesthetic and pain management protocol, and patient monitoring and support.

Of course, the program also excels in its surgical instruction and practice. Six out of these ten days will involve some amount of surgery, and, dependent on each student’s ability and the availability of animals, most students will perform between 15 and 25 surgeries in the two-week period, and will devote approximately 15% of the entire externship to “table time.”

The Extern Plus program is identical to the Extern program for the first two weeks, but offers an additional third week focused on surgery practice, in which students have the opportunity to perform an extra 20 – 25 surgeries.

Spots tend to fill up quickly, so it is advisable to contact extern [at] humanealliance [dot] org at least one-two years in advance.
7 full-time veterinarians, with 1 full-time veterinarian dedicated exclusively to a group of 4 student externs. A team of veterinary technicians and assistants dedicated to a group of 4 student externs.
We have wealth of information, including instructional videos and drug protocols, at:
1. The student is expected to maintain an open mind and an inquisitive attitude.
2. The policies and protocols of the Humane Alliance administration and medical department must be observed and adhered to.
3. The student has read through and understood the training program syllabus details, as described on the Humane Alliance website, for the program in which they are enrolled.
4. There is no stipend for this position.
5. The student must be willing to enter into a contractual agreement to participate in the Humane Alliance “Payback Pledge.” This entails performing 40 hours of voluntary service, over a period of 12 months following graduation. This service can be performed at any animal welfare nonprofit organization, in any capacity (e.g. surgery, kennel cleaning), and be fit into any convenient schedule.
6. The student must arrange for professional liability insurance through either their university or Humane Alliance.
7. The student must arrange for a “veterinary student internship” license from the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board.
8. Pre-existing medical conditions must be reported to the Humane Alliance administration.
9. Emergency contact information must be provided to the Humane Alliance administration.
10. Living quarters are provided at a cost of $50 per training week. The housing accommodations necessitate the sharing of rooms, as well as bathroom facilities.
a. Etiquette of common courtesy must be observed.
b. Quiet hours are from 10:00 PM until 6:00 AM.
c. Students must provide their own towels and bed sheets.
d. Housing is not available before the first day of training.
e. A $20 key deposit is required on the student’s first day.
f. Only Humane Alliance student externs are allowed in the housing areas.
g. No personal or hospitalized pets are allowed in the living areas.
11. Timeliness is imperative for program function. The routine student experience is scheduled from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
12. No visitors are allowed inside of the building after the close of the workday.
13. Exterior doors must be locked at all times after the close of the workday.
14. No personal pets are allowed.
15. Reasonable wear and tear of Humane Alliance property is expected. The student is responsible for excessive and unreasonable damage of Humane Alliance property.
16. A kitchen is available and guidelines for use are posted. The dining area must be kept in a neat and orderly fashion.
17. Illegal activity of any kind is prohibited.
18. Firearms are prohibited.
19. Open flames are prohibited (candles, incense, etc.)
20. This is an alcohol-free campus.
21. Smoking is allowed outside of the building and smoking debris must be disposed of properly.
22. Daily attire (scrubs) should be commensurate with that worn during university surgical rotation reserved to the surgical suite.
23. The student is responsible for providing his/her own transportation.
24. The student understands that Humane Alliance may use any photographs or videos taken of them, or statements made by them, during the externship, or regarding the externship, for their promotional/grant-writing purposes, including inclusion in social media platforms.
25. Humane Alliance offers an optional lunch program. Vegetarian meals are prepared at the clinic, Monday through Thursday, for $3 per meal. Students wishing to participate in this program should sign up on their first day of training, and pay our coordinator before they leave.
8 hours per day, 5 days per week.
Yes - $50 per week to stay in our shared room, on-campus dorm block. Check website for price changes.
Humane Alliance
25 Heritage Drive
Asheville, NC 28804
(828) 252-2079
(828) 254-9774
extern [at] humanealliance [dot] org
Melissa Saxton, DVM
Posted: 01/28/14