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Reassuring advice for recent graduates

A final year veterinary student reviews The New Vet’s Handbook, published in June 2018

27 February 2019, at 12:14pm

The New Vet’s Handbook by Clare Tapsfield-Wright is exactly what its subtitle proclaims: information and advice for veterinary graduates. The author success- fully conveys the wealth of experience she has gained throughout her 38-year career as a practitioner and practice owner for the benefit of future veterinarians.

Clare has an engaging and warm approach to her writing; with an overlying tone of reassurance, the text is informative while inspiring confidence.

As I sat down to read the book in what limited time I had away from the workload that accompanies final year core rotations, the text felt as though it had been written solely for me. I have just begun deliberating how to approach applying to jobs, and this is precisely where the author begins. It was in this instance that I knew the book would be more than just an attempt at aiding a new graduate embarking on the real veterinary lifestyle. Yes, you are taught about the brutal world that is applying for jobs, but you’re also left with heartening comments such as, “When you receive an invitation to come for an interview, pause for a moment and congratulate yourself.”

The author covers every topic that a new vet could think of and may encounter as they embark on their veterinary career. As well as relaying her experience from small animal practice, she includes advice for future large and equine vets gleaned from her time in mixed practice. Each chapter, from dealing with clients and co-workers to out of hours work and surgery, provides a thorough rundown of the basics and what to expect each step along the way, with handy bullet-pointed cheat sheets and tips for making your first months in practice that little bit easier.

A clear effort has been made to discuss, on a personal level, a topic very relevant to the veterinary profession: well-being. In each chapter, Clare takes the time to make sure that the reader considers the emotions and difficulties that they may experience in those first years in practice.

The book even has a dedicated chapter on taking care of yourself, as well as one centred around coping with helping owners, and yourself, say goodbye. Whilst students do get taught about methods of coping, having someone speak from experience with a caring tone feels more personal; Clare covers the delicate topic faultlessly.

I managed to read The New Vet’s Handbook from cover to cover in only a few days, but the book is more than a one-time read. The book’s clear progression through those first two years of a new graduate’s career means that it will be a great resource throughout that period. Beyond personal progression, there are notes for mentors, meaning that readers will be able to use the book to aid others in the future.

Clare has managed to provide friendly, thoughtful and, above all, very useful advice that I would highly recommend to anyone just about to graduate, just graduated or even beyond. The book is a funny and very informative read.