In 2012 I was interviewed by Career Lounge about my experiences and university and what I loved and loathed about my career.
How was your time at uni?
University for me was a challenging experience. Particularly the first two years of the degree where the majority of course material involves memorising anatomy, physiology, cell biology, chemistry, etc. In addition to all the rote learning, I had to deal with the death of my father. Fortunately it became a lot more enjoyable for me once problem solving and principles of disease was introduced. The case based learning suited me far more than remembering the origin of insertion of various muscles. University was a busy time between juggling 30 hours a week in lectures, plus assignments, study and reading material, part-time work and all of the necessary pub crawls, harbour cruises, vetball and the annual BBGrog.
Were you working while studying?
I worked at a local veterinary clinic for the entirety of my veterinary degree. I was fortunate enough to gain invaluable experience and not only did it supplement my degree financially but also intellectually. I was able to gain experience in day to day running of a veterinary hospital, offer advice to clients and gain additional practical experience all of which made my transition into the workforce after university far easier.
Best aspect of the job
I know it might seem a bit “cliché” but I LOVE my job. I love going into work and not knowing what to expect. Every day is different, but every day I get to meet adorable pets and their wonderful owners. I love being able to heal my patients, relieve their pain and improve their quality of life. I love passing on knowledge to new pet owners who are enthusiastic and looking forward to a long, fulfilling relationship with their new companion. My colleagues are also a great part of the job, we all tend to have a lot in common and have a great time at work.
Worst aspects of the job
Occasionally I come across cases of animal cruelty and neglect. For me, an animal lover, that is really hard to see. Another challenge is realising I am but human, and cannot cure, save and heal all of my patients. On a lighter note, the smell occasionally (and by occasionally I mean daily) can be a little ripe but it has prepared me well for parenthood – no pooey nappy at home even compares to some of the rank every day smells at work.
Most memorable moments
Treating Daisy, a dachshund, who had become paralysed in her hind legs after a prolapsed disc in her spine, with acupuncture and having her “walk” into the clinic after her 5th acupuncture treatment. This lovely little dog had unsuccessfully received surgical decompression and had required a cart (doggy wheelchair) to move around prior to her acupuncture treatment. Also being able to gloat in front of the surgeon who loved nothing more than telling me acupuncture jokes e.g. You know why your patients improve with acupuncture? Because you take the needles out... (Her walking was very wobbly and weak but she was able to move around without the assistance of the cart)
Singing and dancing around theatre after my first ceasarian section as a new graduate, which was performed on my own at 2am, after getting an afterhours call back.
Giving acupuncture to a guinea pig for severe dental pain/jaw weakness, and it arriving in the clinic on the back of a motorbike. Rodney, the extreme Guinea Pig!
Successfully removing a near golf ball sized lump from a mouse, complete with pain relief, antibiotics, heat pads and fluid therapy all on a miniature scale.
Feeling a warm wet sensation down my leg, questioning my own continence to release the cat I was carrying into surgery has just released her bladder all over me.
Ending up with cat poo in my mouth after foolishly licking my lips after a consult. I’m still not sure how I ended up with cat poo on my face, but a valuable lesson learned, don’t just assume you had some of you lunch left on your face after you’ve done a consult. Also chlorhexidine wash tastes terrible.
A client telling me that he accidently took his dogs anti-seizure medication and ended up sleeping for a couple of days. Not recommended!