So I am sat here writing this having survived my first few weeks as a veterinary surgeon! Wow, it seems pretty surreal that I can now say those words – my dream career is finally a reality! This year has been filled with it’s ups and downs, but one of the ultimate highs to date has been this first month at Ribble Vets! I have experienced a barrage of emotions which has ultimately left me falling asleep in my dinner a few more times than I’d like to admit, but it’s been truly worth every second! I know many of you have been following my story through vet school and beyond via my blog so I figured you might like to continue to laugh and cry along with me as this baby vet puts on the training wheels and begins life in her first, real vet job!
… Anyway, I’ll stop gushing and get on with the good stuff! As many of you know I well and truly hit the ground running after a slight plane incendiary and evacuation situation on my flight back from Mexico (but that is another story entirely!). I had precisely 2 days to pack up my life in Sheffield, do the obligatory family and friend fly-in visiting and move the two hours to Preston. I had the grand total of a weekend to move into my flat before my Monday morning start as a real vet, eeek! The flat was lovely, modern and clean and sits conveniently at the back of the vet’s practice so I can literally roll out of bed and I’m already at work. However, it was clearly designed by a minimalist and as many of you know, I do not pack light so for a short time my flat and I were at odds. However, after getting creative (with a lot of help from my mum!) and taking a leaf out of IKEA storage solutions book, it now feels much more like home!
Everyone says that your first few months in practice is a huge learning curve and I would 100% agree with that! Some things I expected like deciphering the practice computer system, figuring out drug protocols and learning to trust my own judgement in clinical situations…. There were also many things I’ve learnt that I wasn’t expecting. I have experienced certain work-based revelations such as; consider, when you are allowing the cute little puppy to lick your face adoringly while you’re doing your clinical exam (best consult ever), where said puppies mouth may have previously been. In this case the owner then expressed concerns about the little munchkin’s rather voracious hunger for his own faeces, Ewww. I also realised after being surrounded by fellow vet students for 5 years that my sense of what is “normal” to the general population has been rather skewed. For example it’s maybe not the best idea after finishing work at one of the branch practices to go and grab yourself some milk whilst carrying a urine sample pot to take back to the main practice for analysis, turns out that’s not really a socially acceptable thing to do!
I think this last month I have experienced what it must feel like to be a toddler; my brain feels like it may explode with the barrage of new information it’s receiving each and every day – no wonder they need so many naps! I have been so tired I drove to the shops then realised I had completely forgotten my purse, then was ultimately too tired to return despite being desperately low on food. Due to this incident, all I had for lunch was toast the following day, but I think you know you have a great team when everyone in the staff room looks at you in horror and begins trying to have a whip around out of the contents of their own lunches to get you fed properly. I am very lucky to have been welcomed into such a close-knit and friendly team, as the baby of the practice I’ve been taken under everyone’s wing from the receptionists who sort out my technological mishaps (of which there are many ) to the nurses who are always there to help me with any and all struggles (they are very good at picking up on my lost puppy face and rescuing me accordingly) and of course the vets who despite their own hectic schedules are always willing to donate time for me to run my million questions by them.
What has been amazingly lovely has been the public support of my newness. I was anxious clients wouldn’t trust me because I’m so fresh out of university but I have been met by the utmost kindness from the clients here; from the farmer who helped fix my van door to the small-holders who let me conquer my first alpaca castrate and complimented me on my excellent stitching. So many people have congratulated me on finishing vet school making me feel like I’ve won a nobel prize with all their praise, not going to lie though I kind of feel like I have, being a vet is pretty awesome!
I am hoping to make these little (I’m going to call them my therapy sessions because I feel like airing my dirty laundry and sharing my ups, downs and embarrassing moments is going to help keep me sane!) a regular thing, my bosses have bravely let me publicise these little anecdotes in hopes of giving you all a little insight into the world of a baby-vet navigating her first few months in practice. I really hope you all enjoy reading about my little adventures and tune in for next month’s dose!