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We are delighted to present the next instalment of Tales From the Clinic, which follows Jessica* as she enters the veterinary profession. Jessica has recently graduated from vet school and is sharing her first-hand experiences with you.

How Mentorship Has Helped me to Settle In

So, I have settled in really well. It made such a difference shadowing for the first couple of weeks and slowly being weaned onto my own consult column rather than being chucked in at the deep end and expected to keep afloat! That way I feel more confident, and supported, going into things.

Something that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of having a more experienced vet or mentor to talk through cases or treatment plans with you. If you talk through a case thoroughly with a mentor, you will know what to do next time. I have found that repetition is key, even with the basics! Going over the basics have helped me to build a sturdy foundation, both in terms of technical skill and confidence.

Finding the Job That’s Right For You

As you will know from last time, I had a brief experience working in a mixed animal clinic. Now I am working in a small animal clinic, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. For example, I don’t have to jump from seeing a horse out in the freezing cold on my own, then driving back to the practice, to then go straight into a 15 minute consultation! 

Obviously, everyone has different preferred lifestyles, but this is why working in veterinary medicine is so good! You can tailor the job depending on the amount of variety you will enjoy, your specific interests, and whether you thrive under pressure. 

I have actually gone down to a four day week, which has made a huge difference! I feel I have a much better work-life balance compared to in my first job. I now have the energy to practice hobbies, to have Zoom catch ups with my friends, which in themselves are great ways to wind down.

Overall, I would urge any new veterinarian to seek out the support of their colleagues, especially more experienced vets. Mentorship is helping me to build my confidence, because I can talk through specific cases in detail and improve for next time. I feel much more supported in my current job, which is all to do with the quality of onboarding and that I was able to shadow an experienced vet before jumping into my own consultations. Finally, I have a great support network around me, I regularly chat to my friends and family and make time to wind down and practice hobbies. Never underestimate this last point; taking time out and having fun is fundamental to being a successful veterinarian!

If you are a new veterinarian entering the profession during these uncertain times, take heed from Jessica and invest in the following:

  • Mentorship: find a mentor who is experienced, and has similar clinical interests. See if you can shadow them before taking on consultations by yourself.
  • Onboarding: during your interview for a new job, or during a conversation with your boss, ask about the onboarding process. What kind of support will you be given, and for how long?

Network: reach out to your network, instead of being alone with your thoughts. You can join our growing network of veterinarians striving for career success and happiness here.

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