Professional challenges of a new veterinary surgeon

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It's hard work qualifying to become a vet. Understandably, there is a great deal to learn and it takes a dedicated individual to commit to years of study.

On qualifying, the road ahead may seem considerably less problematic, but on a day-to-day basis, the life of a vet is challenging to say the least.

Those who were committed to their studies and subsequently determine to provide a professional service to clients have to take the first steps toward applying their knowledge in a practical sense.

Practical application

When situations are pressured, a newly qualified vet may find the day to day role challenging. It is a cavernous leap from studying to working in crucial situations, where the life of the patient is in their hands.

Making the wrong decision can impact confidence levels and lead the vet towards self-criticism.

Stress levels may be high at times and pressure on a day to day basis can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, irritability or even lead toward the vet feeling isolated. Negative feedback from grieving or unhappy pet owners may also add to self-doubt or guilt.

Luckily, support for veterinary professionals is available from various sources, not least of all the VetLife website and helpline.

Long hours

The hours of a qualified vet are often long and there may be little emotional or practical support throughout.

The responsibility of decision-making lies with the vet and often there are difficult judgment calls to make.

Situations may be physically or emotionally distressing and the vet has to be able to offer the best advice or recourse, taking a practical stance while still retaining empathy for those who are upset with any potential diagnosis.

Emotional rapport

To provide a well-rounded service, the vet has to create and sustain an emotional connection with pet owners. After all, pet owners are entirely dependent on the vet’s knowledge and skills for their animal’s welfare. This is a lot of trust given to someone who may be newly qualified.

Sometimes, very difficult decisions have to be made, and many vets struggle with this aspect.

Many challenges

Although the working life of a vet may sound difficult, awareness can make a considerable difference and help newly qualified vets to take these aspects in their stride.

All careers have highs and lows and there are many challenges and successful outcomes that will endorse their desire to continue working to the highest standard.

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