emotional stress

Discussion in 'Veterinary' started by Merilen, 05.20.14.

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  1. Merilen

    Merilen

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    Hi. I've been accepted into vet school for the coming year but I've started having second thoughts. I'm worried about the emotional burden vets are under. I told a friend and vet tech that I got into vet school. She has been in the field for many years at multiple practices and she doesn't believes becoming a vet is a good idea for me. She told me most vets she worked with didn't enjoy their jobs and that the job is very emotionally taxing. I know being a vet has its stresses but I have had serious depression problems in the past. I'm worried that if being a vet is as emotionally taxing as she let on I won't make it in this career. I know being a vet can be an emotional job at times but are some of you constantly worrying about medical decisions and thinking about deceased patients? I talked to a couple of vets since and they both told me not to go into the field. I want/need a distinction between home life and work life. Is this not common? I'm hoping my friend's experience isn't the norm. She's been in the field much longer than me. I'd feel foolish if I didn't consider her advice and the advice of the other vets I've since spoken with. Every job can be stressful. Are the stresses, emotional and otherwise, of being a vet that much more significant than other careers? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. Ashgirl

    Ashgirl Pokemon Academy c/o 2018! 2+ Year Member

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    Hello there, and welcome!

    Cold feet and second thoughts are quite common in vet med, and you're definitely not alone. Here are a few similar threads to browse through (I'm sure there are more as well):

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/having-second-thoughts-about-career.647541/

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/thr...ought-up-before-but-serious-cold-feet.641209/

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/anyone-else-having-a-mild-case-of-cold-feet.623116/

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/anyone-else-have-cold-feet.523681/

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/cold-feet-about-vet-school.417731/

    Now, I can't really say if being a vet has more stress than another (some of the veteran posters could answer this one better), but I personally think that it depends on the person a bit. Some might be more stressed out by certain things while others will just let it slide off their back. I wish we could just say if vet med was right for you... but honestly, you have to figure that out yourself. You can find out what it entails, and you can hear anecdote after anecdote about the stresses of the career, but in the end you are the one that has to decide if vet med is the correct pathway for you.
     
  4. Merilen

    Merilen

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    Thank you for the reply. I've been in vet clinics before and I've enjoyed my time there. The vets in the clinic seemed content as well. But the vets I spoke to most recently (and what I've read in posts on here agree with them) say that the only clinics they've been able to find jobs in have been either unethical, have a lot of "convenient" euthanasia's, or none of the clients will treat their pets. Is this true for most veterinarians? I thought most clinics were like the ones I have shadowed/worked with (I just went to the clinics that would let me shadow) but it sounds like that's not the case. I also talked to vet students and they told me the graduating classes usually had multiple job offers so I thought finding a decent clinic to work in wouldn't be a problem. It really concerns me.
     
  5. Ashgirl

    Ashgirl Pokemon Academy c/o 2018! 2+ Year Member

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    This would definitely be a question for the practicing vets on here, or even the new grads.

    I'm not sure... but perhaps it could be a location thing as well (though I fully realize within a location vet clinics can vary widely)? All of the vets that I worked and/or shadowed for has not had this issue, though I know that doesn't say much. I'm sure those jobs you are describing are out there, though realize that even though really good jobs are few and far between I don't necessarily think you will be automatically "stuck" in a bad practice. You do get a choice in what jobs you accept (though I'm not sure of the percent of new grads that only got one job offer..)

    Anyways, I know I wasn't much help. Perhaps @Minnerbelle, @MassDVMMPH, or @dyachei could help you further.
     
  6. dyachei

    dyachei vet robot pirate zombie SDN Administrator 7+ Year Member

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    I haven't had issues and I tend towards depression. Really having a work-life balance is key and something that you must personally ask for/fight for.

    I've never worked in a clinic that requires convenience euthanasias, either
     
  7. Thelemic

    Thelemic

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    VETGirl is having a webinar on "Suicide Awareness in Veterinary Medicine", tonight, and I think you'll be able to watch it recorded if you can't stream it live. I'm not sure this webinar is going to address the OP's questions, directly, but I'm guessing it will at least touch on some of the issues in veterinary medicine that lead to emotional stress. It may be worth a glance.

    http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=9ad52d4a398a8f1a47dc161c5&id=005b2c4347
     
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  8. CShoes

    CShoes

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    I had doubts about going to vet school, and staying in vet school. It is not talked about openly enough and I felt alone when I struggled with this. I graduated in 2011 in Australia. In hindsight I don’t think vet school was the right choice for me. I'm not currently working as a veterinarian and I feel happier now. This is what was right for me; it does not mean it is right for you. Only you can make that choice for yourself.

    Some things to think about:

    - When you shadow vets at clinics, do you find it interesting? Are you mostly enjoying the experience? Be honest with yourself.

    - There are different ways to be a clinic vet: full time, part-time, locum. Not all clinics are the same. Sometimes it is a particular clinic and not the profession that causes someone to dislike their job.

    - A veterinary degree does not restrict you to working as a GP in a clinic. Are there other aspects of veterinary science/medicine that you might find interesting? E.g. research, pathology, public health, pharmaceutical industry, government etc.

    - What do you want from your life? You mentioned work/home life distinction. This is hard, especially when you are a new graduate, and especially if you work in a clinic with after hours. How are you at mentally leaving work at work? This is something to start getting the hang of during vet school, in terms of making sure you have a life outside of vet school, even if it is just one thing (e.g. play a sport, practise a musical instrument etc.)

    - Vet school is a long, hard slog. There is a lot of information thrown at you at once (the analogy is trying to drink from a fire hose) and as you progress through the course your contact hours increase dramatically. On the other hand, you also get to see and do some pretty amazing things. You’ll feel a great sense of achievement as you learn and do things you didn’t know you were capable of.

    - The job market is tough right now, but vets are still finding jobs. It might not be as easy as it was, but it's possible. Keep volunteering or get a job in a clinic whilst you’re at vet school, stay in contact with vets/clinics, and get yourself known at clinics that you think you might like to work at when you’re finished.

    - Yes, the job is demanding and stressful, and even more so when you are a new graduate. I suspect the level of stress would be similar to the other professional fields on SDN but greater than, for example, general office jobs. This doesn't mean that you couldn't cope or shouldn't do it.

    You have the opportunity to go to vet school. Don’t pass up this opportunity if it is what you truly want for yourself - give it a try - it is okay to change your mind. Listen to your heart and be brave!
     
  9. Opy11

    Opy11

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    Merilen, I've been a practicing veterinarian for 3 years and have am seriously contemplating leaving vetmed. If I could go back in time and do it over, I would go into human medicine instead.
     
  10. Merilen

    Merilen

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    Thank you for the replies. Opy11 and CShoes can I ask why you did/do not like being a veterinarian? And Opy11, why do you think the human side of medicine would have been better? And CShoes do you mind me asking what you are doing now? I'm also afraid to go into vetmed because if I do end up not liking it or burning out (which I hear about often) my debt could be too high to leave the field and enter into something else. Sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I make the right choice, which just seems unclear right now.
     
  11. CShoes

    CShoes

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    Hi Merilen. :) I don't mind your questions, though I do find it hard to articulate why I didn’t like it. I guess the reason is that it wasn't the right job for me. I had doubts the entire way through vet school but I kept telling myself that my doubts were due to the stress of vet school and once I graduated it would be better.

    I didn’t really like the day-to-day work. I didn’t really find medicine/surgery all that interesting. I felt that vet stuff intruded into my home life (worrying about patients, reading up on the next day’s surgery). In general I don’t feel that vets are fairly paid for their training/expertise/time (No, it’s not about the money, but this bothered me more than I thought it would).

    At the clinic, I felt stressed and anxious all the time to the point where my mental health was impacted. I would wake up in the morning dreading going to work, and when I got there I couldn’t wait to leave (and it was a fantastic clinic with wonderful vets and the best nurses). I didn’t really want my life to be like that, I suppose.

    So, at the moment, I work in a bookshop. It’s a full time position and I work Monday to Friday. I enjoy my day a lot more. I am not paid as much as I would get as a vet, but then the job is not very demanding and I’m not stressed. I have more time outside of work to pursue hobbies - my evenings and weekends are my own. I probably won't do this forever, but it is good for now.

    If I went back in time, I would pursue zoology/conservation. I am glad I graduated vet school, though. I don’t wonder ‘What if…’ or ‘Am I good enough?’ — I know the answer now. I always have the option to go back to practice if I choose. (It’ll be hard, but it is an option.) Also, I met my husband and I probably wouldn’t have met him if I didn’t go to vet school.

    As for the debt, yes I have one, but in Australia the loan system is a bit different to the US so it is a little more manageable. I’ll still be paying it back for a while, though.

    Honestly, it seems like you have a better understanding of the realities of being a vet than I did. If you have enjoyed your time in vet clinics and still want to go to vet school, I don't think worrying about burn out and debt should stop you from going. Hope that helps.
     

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