Sep 17, 2015
1
0
Status
Pre-Veterinary
Dear SDN folks,

I am a sophomore Molecular Biology major at a university in Florida. I am doing well, I have a 3.80 GPA so far and am currently enrolled in Chemistry, Physics, Microbiology and Statistics. I am very interested in the field of veterinary medicine and am on track with my prerequisites. I do not even have that much trouble getting experience with animals. I have shadowed in a wildlife hospital and in a small community clinic, worked in a dog kennel and most recently worked as a veterinary technician at a local animal hospital. My only problem is that I have a small problem with personal freedom.
Most of these things I have done not because I enjoyed them, but I figured it would help get me into veterinary school. My most recent adventure was landing the job as a vet tech over the summer which in the beginning was extremely exciting for me. I thought to myself, "Golly this is every pre-vet kids' dream!" I learned a LOT and made some great friends and figured I would work there my entire college career. But it was a corporate veterinary hospital and the Dr's were old and snappy and the hours were extremely long. It only took me a month into the school semester to fizzle out and have a melt down and quit the job. I know this sounds pathetic but it is the truth.
I did not like the environment working in the veterinary hospital at ALL. It felt like all business and no compassion (I know it is a business, but man). There were so many clients that neither the Drs nor I could remember patient histories. It felt like an assembly line. I just hated working in the coroporate situation where I felt like just a chess piece. I know I am just immaturely complaining, but I hated working for "the man" so much that I quit this job even if it could have really helped me get into veterinary school. The only thing I did enjoy is when I could personally connect with a client every once in a while, listen to how they got their pet, what the pet is like, oh that Fluffy was a rescue, that they also had horses and cats and ferrets, that they are flying out to a wedding next weekend, etc. I have a bit of a social anxiety issue so working in the hospital was already hard, but even so when I could connect and really hear the "CLIENT'S" concerns with my heart and felt that I could help, I was immensely satisfied.
Now I am at the point where I still want to be a veterinarian but I am concerned where to get meaningful experience. I no longer want to work in a 9-5 day by day prison trap where we serve BUSINESS CLIENTS and not patients. I know I must sound like a brat but I cannot help how I feel. I especially do not want to spend my professional life in that world. I know that by the time I am a real veterinarian I can either open my own clinic if I am interested or run a mobile business (more interested). Maybe I can even be a traveling large animal vet. There's gotta be such a thing, right...?
I guess I just want to know if any of you have felt this way and what you have done about it. If you feel like I just sound like some hippie brat too, feel free to say it. Any input helps. Thank you :/
 

batsenecal

U of I c/o 2021
5+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2013
3,984
5,401
Perpetual state of disarray
Status
Veterinary Student
I've worked for three private clinics, and each experience was completely different.

The first was a clinic that we used for our pet stores. Pretty laid back and pretty enjoyable. Well staffed, good doctors. Only problem was that one of the doctors wasn't a fan of what my mom did for a living. I knew that was already happening, so I was prepared. I got about 135 hours there.

The second clinic was owned by this dude either partly or in full for thirty years. There was one doctor, one tech, and the office manager. I was one of two to three volunteers/interns at any time. He specialized in dental work and I got to see a lot of cool surgeries and participated in hands on work everyday. The doctor and wife gave us and their clients a month's notice they were moving to Nebraska, which made everything kind of a cluster. Got about 100 hours there.

This clinic was two years old and owned by an Egyptian vet from Cairo. Open seven days a week with the owner and a relief vet, one consistent tech, and me. We had one to two volunteers at any time. The turn over rate was a new tech every one and a half months. The first two months were awesome as a volunteer. As soon as I was staff, it went downhill and quick. I got 1200 hours from that clinic, but I honestly don't know if that was worth it even though I got a decent letter and so much experience.

Point is that you have to go to several places before you know what vet med is like. Don't give up after one experience.
 

Okimo

SDN Bronze Donor
Bronze Donor
7+ Year Member
Oct 3, 2012
1,382
838
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Dear SDN folks,

I am a sophomore Molecular Biology major at a university in Florida. I am doing well, I have a 3.80 GPA so far and am currently enrolled in Chemistry, Physics, Microbiology and Statistics. I am very interested in the field of veterinary medicine and am on track with my prerequisites. I do not even have that much trouble getting experience with animals. I have shadowed in a wildlife hospital and in a small community clinic, worked in a dog kennel and most recently worked as a veterinary technician at a local animal hospital. My only problem is that I have a small problem with personal freedom.
Most of these things I have done not because I enjoyed them, but I figured it would help get me into veterinary school. My most recent adventure was landing the job as a vet tech over the summer which in the beginning was extremely exciting for me. I thought to myself, "Golly this is every pre-vet kids' dream!" I learned a LOT and made some great friends and figured I would work there my entire college career. But it was a corporate veterinary hospital and the Dr's were old and snappy and the hours were extremely long. It only took me a month into the school semester to fizzle out and have a melt down and quit the job. I know this sounds pathetic but it is the truth.
I did not like the environment working in the veterinary hospital at ALL. It felt like all business and no compassion (I know it is a business, but man). There were so many clients that neither the Drs nor I could remember patient histories. It felt like an assembly line. I just hated working in the coroporate situation where I felt like just a chess piece. I know I am just immaturely complaining, but I hated working for "the man" so much that I quit this job even if it could have really helped me get into veterinary school. The only thing I did enjoy is when I could personally connect with a client every once in a while, listen to how they got their pet, what the pet is like, oh that Fluffy was a rescue, that they also had horses and cats and ferrets, that they are flying out to a wedding next weekend, etc. I have a bit of a social anxiety issue so working in the hospital was already hard, but even so when I could connect and really hear the "CLIENT'S" concerns with my heart and felt that I could help, I was immensely satisfied.
Now I am at the point where I still want to be a veterinarian but I am concerned where to get meaningful experience. I no longer want to work in a 9-5 day by day prison trap where we serve BUSINESS CLIENTS and not patients. I know I must sound like a brat but I cannot help how I feel. I especially do not want to spend my professional life in that world. I know that by the time I am a real veterinarian I can either open my own clinic if I am interested or run a mobile business (more interested). Maybe I can even be a traveling large animal vet. There's gotta be such a thing, right...?
I guess I just want to know if any of you have felt this way and what you have done about it. If you feel like I just sound like some hippie brat too, feel free to say it. Any input helps. Thank you :/
I feel like I know where you go to school and where you worked. It gets better.
 

CalliopeDVM

7+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2010
939
721
Toronto, ON
Status
Veterinarian
Every clinic has a different feel, even if they are corporate-owned clinics within the same corporation. Some you may like, some you may not. Everything comes with pros and cons, and your priorities will decide which are most important. Even if you open your own clinic, you will still be faced with the situation of weighing the pros and cons of situations - you will never get everything that you want without accepting some things that you don't. That's life.

Some clinics are low-volume, highly personalized clinics with long-time staff and clients; others are high volume clinics with high turnover of clients and staff. Some are mere extensions of their boss (whether their boss owns 2 or 200 clinics), and it's more like being in a franchise than in a small business, whereas others are creations of one vet with a personal dream - but both might allow for very little change or personal choice. It can be hard to tell unless you're there.

No one has the "personal freedom" to do everything they want -- that's life, and that's business (and trust me, if you graduate 6 figures in debt, you have to consider the business side too). You just have to find which freedoms are most important to you and what "cons" you're willing to accept to get the "pros" that are important to you. There's a huge range of types of veterinary employment out there, and even within clinics there's a huge range of styles.

What "personal freedoms" are you looking for that you are afraid you won't find?
 

chickenlittle

10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
308
151
Status
Veterinarian
My n=5 and I can say that all the clinics I've worked in as a veterinarian have had an assembly-line feel. That's likely due to the area I live in (where clients are cheap and therefore low-cost, high-volume is the norm).... but even the lower-volume clinic that I worked in had a lot of pressure to sell and make money. I've never really felt like I had a significant degree of freedom.... I've felt like any other hospital employee, only with more responsibility.

If you're looking for any degree of independence, you'll need to own your own clinic or housecall practice. I can't justify the expense of opening a clinic and my area is oversaturated with housecall vets, so I'm working on a career change.
 

CalliopeDVM

7+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2010
939
721
Toronto, ON
Status
Veterinarian
Associate veterinarians probably have more personal freedoms than most other employees, because their professional license requires them to adhere to certain standards.

Consider it this way: Everyone has the freedom to make choices and pay the consequences -- for instance, a vet can spend longer getting to know clients, but the consequences of that choice might include a lower income or being fired. But that vet also has the choice to find a new job (also has consequences of possible decreased income when looking, and possible problems in the new job) or to start his/her own business (also has consequences of running a business).

Lots of freedom to choose - but every choice has consequences.
 

katashark

Oregon c/o 2020
2+ Year Member
Jun 25, 2015
2,744
2,922
The Ocean
Status
Veterinary Student
There are also lots of fields that veterinarians work in that aren't clinical settings. Start researching different fields of veterinary medicine, there are lots with way more freedom. :D
 
Jan 17, 2015
16
6
Status
Pre-Veterinary
It sounds like 2 things to me:

1. You have not worked enough jobs outside of school.
If you want to get paid, you have to work for the man every once in a while. You cannot be afraid to buckle down and work hard, long hours to make it to where you want to go.

2. You should look into specialties.
I work in ER because I didn't like the specialty I was working in. I'm not into client interaction as much. I like the "treat and street" approach better. But, in internal medicine, neurology, oncology, dermatology, and cardiology, it's essential to remember clients, get to know them, and check up on patients periodically.

All that being said- you need more experience in both primary care and just the job market in general before going on to specialties- unless you slip in as a receptionist or get really lucky.

Good luck.
 
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