Vetlink Employment Service

New Graduate Vets – Your first year in veterinary practice

Some things to think about to help make your first year a success.

Find a good boss:
The ideal first boss is a person who has trained new graduates before and has a history of treating staff very well. A good employer will provide you with backup and support, training, mentoring and encouragement.

How to choose a good employer:
One of the most effective ways of assessing a practice is to talk to a vet, preferably a new or recent graduate, who is currently or has previously worked at the practice.

It is a good idea to contact the person when they are not at work so they can speak openly with you. Most good employers and employment agents will be happy to provide you with the necessary contact details. Spending some time at the practice before accepting the job is also very helpful.

Get organised:
Offer to spend a day or two at the practice before your official start date. You could use this time to learn the computer system, vaccine regimes and treatment protocols. Staff at the practice will appreciate you taking the time to introduce yourself before you start work. You can avoid a lot of stress by being proactive and organised. You will also make a wonderful first impression.

Dress and grooming:
It is important to be neat and tidy, well groomed and well dressed.

The basics:
Punctuality, reliability, good manners, initiative and the ability to communicate are as important today as they have ever been.

Give yourself a break:
You will be on a steep learning curve for the next two years so make sure you take the time to do something you really enjoy at least once a week. Recreational activities such as surfing, sailing, bike riding, tennis, horse riding, dancing or cooking are just some ideas. Having a break from work and doing something you really enjoy is an excellent source of stress relief. It’s really good for your state of mind.

Don’t isolate yourself:
Many of you will be moving away from home, friends and family. Stress and isolation are not a good combination for most people. Consider finding a share house with like-minded people rather than living alone. Make sure you join a sporting or community group and mix with people. Stay in close contact with your existing friends.

Routine surgery:
Ask your employer to give you a significant amount of routine surgery to do. It’s really important to do a lot of routine surgery in your first two years out.

History/Clinical Exam:
Make sure you get a very good history and do a thorough clinical exam every time.

Vet Nurses:
I will be forever grateful to the nurses at my first job for all the help they gave me. You will very quickly realise how much you need the support and co-operation of the vet nurses at the practice. Remember to thank them for their help every day.

DISCLAIMER: The above information is for guidance purposes only. Vetlink takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information, which is not intended as advice.