A Vet’s Voice | Life as a new graduate


If you’ve visited Damory Vets within the last few months you may have seen two new faces amongst the small animal vets. We (Annabelle and Alice) started working at Damory in July and August respectively and since then we’ve been settling into life as new graduate veterinary surgeons. Quite unintentionally, we seem to have made it a little difficult to tell us apart. If you were to request “the new young female vet with brown hair and whose name begins with “A”” you still wouldn’t have narrowed down the selection – our consults tops do have our names on them but presently they’re mostly obscured by the many layers of PPE associated with these unusual times.

Annabelle and Alice new graduate veterinary surgeons

Prior to graduating, we have studied for five or six years at university, covering all areas and species from bees right through to bulls.  We undertake 38 weeks of work experience, usually arranged during our holiday periods, in areas of both animal husbandry and within veterinary practices.  During this time, we’ve learnt how to tip sheep, milk cows, take blood samples, place intravenous catheters and much more.  Although some of these skills we are unlikely to use again within the realm of small animal practice, all these experiences shape each vet’s perspective of animal care.

Even after completing all this training, there are many contrasts between the vet school and the “real world”, and so many aspects of veterinary life that can only truly be learned on the job. The cases we work through in lectures are now in front of our eyes, the results we interpret are now attached to real animals and the discussions we plan now involve real people.  At university, we’re generally taught the active ingredient (or generic name) of medications – we then emerge into the real world only to discover that each drug had multiple different trade names of various strengths and presentations. Flea and worming products in particular seem to be an ever-shifting myriad of combinations, formulations and names.

Our final year and beginning of our working careers have, like everything else this year, been slightly different to what we had imagined.  Examinations held online, virtual graduation ceremonies, and starting our first consults in the carpark was certainly not how we’d pictured this year going!  While the weather in the summer was for the most part dry and warm, following the loss of our practice gazebo in a particularly violent storm we’re sure everyone is glad to be back in the warm during the darker colder months. 

Vet school prepares you for day one, but it depends on your first job to build you up for the coming years.  We’ve been lucky enough to join the small animal team at Damory, who have all been incredibly supportive and are always willing to provide encouragement, advice, or another perspective on any challenging cases.  The transition from veterinary student to newly qualified vet can be a daunting and overwhelming time, but it has also proved incredibly rewarding.

We’d like to take a moment to thank everyone – owners, colleagues and animals – for welcoming us into this busy community. Your help and understanding have made the transition into veterinary practice so much easier, and we will strive to continue our life-long learning to help both you and all of your pets.

By: Damory Vets


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