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“Have the new jobs of 2016 graduates lived up to expectations?”

16 April 2018, at 5:32pm

This month it’s the new graduate’s turn in our vertical cross-section veterinary satisfaction Q&A, where I put similar questions to vets at various stages in their careers. Have the new jobs of 2016 graduates lived up to expectations? What are they doing next? 

Has your first year gone as you expected? 

Small animal vet Yes and no. This year certainly has been a steep learning curve and stressful at times, particularly with out-of-hours, but I have thoroughly enjoyed putting what I’d been taught at university into practice and feel I have gained confidence.

Mixed practice vet Mostly how I anticipated; it’s very similar to EMS placements. I underestimated the impact of increased responsibility, on-call work and general paperwork. Starting work away from friends and family was the biggest change. It was also a shock to the system to see how far away general practice could be from what was taught at vet school. 

What subjects interest you most? 

SA I have an interest in cardiology and ophthalmology and enjoy the problem-solving aspect of medicine cases. I have also enjoyed building a rapport with clients. 

MP I have interests in ophthalmology, ultrasonography and camelid medicine, which I have continued from vet school. While having no interest in surgery prior to my first job, I’m now much more involved with this. I also enjoy using technology and design skills to optimise practice. 

What sort of career path do you expect to follow over the next five to 10 years? 

SA I hope to further develop my clinical skills to become a well-rounded general practitioner and then maybe specialise in the future. 

MP I expect to continue in general practice for a few more years. I think it’s important to work in different practices to appreciate different ways of doing things. Beyond that, I have no plans, though I have considered specialisation and branching out into other areas. 

Have you considered other jobs available to you with a veterinary degree? 

SA I haven’t personally, but a couple of friends have looked into joining the army. 

MP I have considered research and applying tech skills to the veterinary sector.

Has the salary lived up to your expectations? 

SA It’s about what I expected, but on discussing with friends it certainly varies with location. 

MP It’s as expected. Long work hours and being on-call mean I spend little money and save income. 

Can you give me some insight into how others in your year are getting on? 

SA Quite a few people from my year have moved on to a second job/practice since graduating [15 months after graduation]. A few are now considering internships. The majority of people who went into mixed jobs initially have actually had to make a decision to pursue 100% farm, small animal or equine. 

MP Some have moved around because they were not happy in their prior jobs. Some have done internships and are already considering specialisation.

Do you think being a vet is a career for life? 

SA Certainly, but I think it’s something you can tailor and adapt as you progress.

MP Yes, although I would like to pursue other avenues at some point. 

What do you like or dislike about veterinary work? 

SA I like working within a team to reach a common goal to help both animals and clients in their hour of need, strengthening the important bond they share. I dislike the difficult consults where important decisions are based on financial constraints. 

MP I like improving the health and welfare of the animals and providing a good service to clients. I dislike the stresses of the job: bad clients, blaming myself for mistakes, etc. Working in mixed practice, I find it particularly stressful dealing with cases I have little experience with due to spreading myself thinly between disciplines.

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