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Confidence question for vets / almost vets

Discussion in 'Veterinary' started by Hollycozza, May 8, 2008.

  1. Hollycozza

    Hollycozza 5+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    New South Wales
    Anyone else get near the end of the course (less than 6 months to go for me!) and become worried about how good a vet they can be? :scared: I think being a new grad must just be a really steep learning curve and presumably I'll get there- but I find it alarming how much of what I've learnt I seem to have forgotten :eek:

    It even makes me daydream about other things I could do instead, just in case I *can't* be a good vet! But I hope I can!!!!!!! :scared:

    Is this a common feeling???
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  3. Bill59

    Bill59 Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    I think it's very common. In most cases, you will feel like you learn more your first year out of school than you did in 4 years of school. I'm not sure that's really true though because what you don't realize is how much you've really learned in school.

    What you do learn that first year or so is how to practically apply what you've learned.

    A few other things you learn that first year:

    1. In a general practice, 90% of the sick patients will get better on their own. The key is to not screw that up and to reassure the client. The other key is to pick out the 10% that have a truly serious problem.

    (This rule doesn't apply for emergency practices. But a new graduate has no business working emergency alone, IMO. It also doesn't apply to referral practice, but new graduates working there are typically interns and therefore usually adequately supervised.)

    2. Also in a general practice, 90% of the patients have 10% of the diseases. In other words, you spend most of your time managing the same things over and over.

    3. Mentorship is key. These days I think very few new graduates are ready to practice on their own. Sure they can do it, but they won't do it well. The most important thing about your first job is to work with one or more good veterinarians who will take the time to mentor you. In general, you will start to practice like the other vets. If they're good, you will be too.

    On the other hand, I've seen some very good students start in a lousy practice and pick up a lot of bad habits.

    4. First impressions are important. The client doesn't know you, you're inexperienced, probably young, and you look it. If you look and act like a doctor (in other words what the client expects a doctor looks like) it will be much easier to get the client to trust you. Once you're established and the clients all know how good you are, you can dress however you want. But not when you're the new doc.

    5. Compassion is every much as important as competence. The reality is most clients don't have a clue as to how good a veterinarian is at the technical aspects of diagnosis and treatment. Unless all your patients are dying, which shouldn't happen (see 1), clients judge you based on things like how well you seem to care about them and their animal. Take the time to really listen to their concerns. Return their phone calls and emails promptly. And never, ever loose your temper with their animal.

    No matter how much they try to kill you.
  4. loo

    loo Always Sleepy 7+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Where It Is Always Cold
    Great advice! Thank you.:)
  5. HeartSong

    HeartSong Okstate 2010 5+ Year Member

    Jul 1, 2004
    And remember, you can always draw some blood, tell the client you need to run some tests and leave them in the exam room while you go back to your office and google it. :p
  6. Hollycozza

    Hollycozza 5+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    New South Wales
    Thanks for the reassurance :)

    We've been told it a few times, and I think its true that how good our first job is will be extremely important. Now to find a good practice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. Kittenmommy

    Kittenmommy Owned By Cats 10+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    Land of Confusion
    And listen to your clients. Chances are, they know their pet better than you do. They know what's normal and what isn't, and just because the pet isn't exhibiting the behavior in your office that caused the client to make the appointment doesn't mean there isn't a problem.

    This comes from a client whose kitten was sent home with nothing but a pat on the head when she presented with a high fever and uncontrollable diarrhea. The vet wrote in her chart that the "owners are overly anxious and worried".

    Less than 24 hours later, we had her back in that same animal ER with the description "EMERGENCY unconscious, limbs limp and cold". It's a miracle she lived.

    And that vet is no longer practicing, thank God.

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