Grow Your VSA Career- Internship/ Mentorship - Veterinary Specialists Aotearoa | Veterinary Specialist and Animal Referral Services in NZ with 3 specialist animal hospitals in Auckland and Christchurch




VSA Rotating Internship

The VSA Internship programme was established in 2002 in association with Zoetis (previously Pfizer). Our programme has  proven to be very successful in achieving its primary goal of providing a pathway for veterinarians to progress to specialisation.

Since 2002, over 20 interns have completed our programme with more than half earning specialist status in their chosen fields of surgery, internal medicine, radiology,  dermatology and cardiology after completing residency programmes in North America, the UK and Australia.



2021 Interns and RJ

World-Class Internship Structure

Our programme is well structured with the support of 6 specialist surgeons, 2 specialists in radiology, 3 internal medicine specialists, 1 specialist in anaesthesia and 1 specialist in cardiology.

VSA also has a supportive group of residents in both surgery and internal medicine that are also integral in the growth and development of our interns.

With over 130 clinical and support staff spread over our 3 hospitals in Auckland and Christchurch there is always someone to help and guide our interns through any task.

Being a valued member of the VSA whanau means that everyone within the team wants to see our interns succeed on their chosen career path.  


Over 12 months our interns rotate through all of the departments in our hospitals


Learning from our team of specialist surgeons, registrars and residents, our interns see the most up to date and innovative procedures and techniques. 

Our comprehensive range of specialist veterinary surgery services include but are not limited to:

  • Brain surgery
  • Spinal stabilization
  • Orthopaedic, neuro, soft tissue and urogenital surgery
  • Skin reconstruction
  • Total hip replacement
  • Arthroscopy

Diagnostic Imaging

Our interns work alongside our 2 specialist radiologists, resident and imaging nursing team.

Working with the radiology department at VSA provides constant challenges and learning opportunities which aids in the growth of our interns. 

At VSA we have the following in-house diagnostic tools:

  • digital radiography
  • CT
  • multiple dual-purpose trolley-based ultrasound systems
  • C-arm fluoroscopy

We also have access to off-site high-field MRI, PET-CT, and radiation therapy.

Internal Medicine

Our VSA Internal Medicine service is made up of a team of specialists and residents.

Our interns will see how these clinicians provide a  personalised and detailed diagnostic and treatment plan for a wide range of medical conditions in our patients. During  rotations interns will be involved in providing medicine services in the following areas:

  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • VSA Cancer Care
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Working with Dr Joana Chagas, New Zealand’s only specialist anesthesiologist in private practice, means that our interns learn from the best. Not only all of the ins and outs of anaesthesia but also learning about pain management.

Each of our hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art anaesthetic machines and monitoring equipment. 

We can provide the following advanced care:

  • mechanical ventilation
  • invasive blood pressure monitoring
  • multimodal analgesia
  • analgesic infusions
  • local-regional anaesthesia 
Keaton and KAtrina


The newest rotation in our intern programme is VSA Cardiology, launched in 2022. 

Following Dr Keaton Morgan, interns experience all parts of a cardiology case from the initial consult, the work-up, right through to treatment.

We also specialise in minimally invasive interventional procedures which our interns get to be involved in during their cardiology rotations.

Procedures performed: 
  • Patent ductus arterioles (PDA) occlusion
  • Pulmonic stenosis balloon valvuloplasty and stent therapy
  • Artificial pacemaker placement
  • Subarotic stenosis cutting balloon valvuloplasty
  • Intravascular stenting 
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Animal Emergency

Working alongside our incredible Animal Emergency team gives the interns an insight on how to deal with cases when they are yet to be stabilised.

During the AE rotation our interns have a great opportunity to develop their client communication and practical skills in a well supported environment. 

Being part of VSA means that the AE team has full  access to the specialist facilities of our hospitals.



Dr Kyle Clark

Kyle is a specialist in small animal surgery and is currently working at VSA.

Dr Elyshia Hankin

Elyshia is a specialist in diagnostic imaging and is currently working in North America.

Dr Miriam Bates

Miriam is currently completing her surgical residency in  North America.

Dr Keaton Morgan

Keaton is a specialist in cardiology and is currently working at VSA.

Dr Edward Hart

Edward is currently completing his residency in small animal surgery at VSA

Dr Brianna Dalbeth

Brianna is a specialist in small animal surgery and is currently working in North America.

Dr Debbie Simpson

Debbie is a specialist veterinary dermatologist and is currently working in Auckland.

Dr James Sutherland-Smith

James is a specialist in diagnostic imaging and is working in North America.

Dr Wendy Archipow

Wendy is a specialist in small animal surgery and is currently working in Australia

Dr Kat Littlewood

Kat completed a PhD and is currently working at Massey University. 

Dr Dominique Sawyere

Dominque is a specialist in small animal surgery and is currently working in North America.

Dr Tom McNaughton

Tom is currently working in the UK as a GP.

Dr Philomena Tuohy

Philomena is currently working in the UK as a veterinary anaesthetist.

Dr Huiyu Lu

Huiyu is currently completing a surgical internship in North America.

Dr Chantelle Wallbridge

Chantelle is currently working as a GP in Auckland.

Dr Hannah Cleary - Registered Vet at VSA - Veterinary Specialists Aotearoa
Dr Hannah Cleary

Hannah is currently working as a GP in Auckland.

Dr Alex Walker

Alex is currently completing an internship in North America.

Dr Emily Ball

Emily is currently completing an internship in North America.

Clear Expectations For Everyone

Our interns are expected to fully participate in case management and perioperative care of cases in the hospital. They are also required to attend regular journal clubs, case rounds and other CPD events.

A requirement of this programme is also to prepare a case report or review article suitable for publication and to present at seminar or conference. VSA holds an annual CPD event in Auckland which our interns are required to present at in both the vet and nurse streams.

It is the intention of this program to enable our interns to be competitive in applications for further postgrad training programs (internships or residencies) in university teaching hospitals anywhere in the world.

VSA Animal Emergency Mentorship



Want to be part of an exciting and rewarding 12 month rotating internship programme and get started on your specialist path? Email us below with your cover letter and C.V.


Our Mentorship Programme is new to VSA in 2022 and it falls on the spectrum between an internship and a full-time paid position.

This role is aimed at new graduates who want to pursue small animal clinical practice and are looking to develop their experience. It is equally suited for future general practice vets as those who are not sure which area of clinical practice interests them.

Our goal is to provide our mentees with a great opportunity to develop client communication and practical clinical skills in a well supported environment, as well as experience what referral private practice offers.

At the end of the 12 months with us our mentees will be well equipped to move forward into whatever area of veterinary medicine they enjoy most – whether it be general practice, an internship or further specialisation.

What Does the VSA AE Mentorship Look Like?

Rose and Molly

Working as an AE Vet

The mentorship programme is structured so that the Mentees always feel supported. There is no pressure to progress before you are ready, but the opportunity is there.


Rotations through the specialist departments

During the 12 month programme, 3 months are spent rotating through the referral services within the VSA hospitals. 


Being part of a supportive team

When you join VSA you are joining a team that prides itself on being a supportive whanau. Whatever time of day you are in the hospitals there is always someone there to help and support you when needed. 

Is the VSA Mentorship Programme for you?

Apply now for our 2024 intake!

Want to be part of an exciting and rewarding 12 month Mentorship Programme? Email us below with your cover letter and C.V

Applications for 2024 are now open.

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