Six vets with a passion for emergency and critical care have just embarked on Vets Now’s pioneering Cutting Edge programme. In the second in a series of blogs about her experiences on the 10-week induction, Emma Passmore tells us how life as a Cutting Edge vet is progressing.
It's week two already. How did that happen? While week one centred on getting to know Vets Now, each other and what we can expect as emergency and critical care vets — week two was all about practical learning.
The sessions focused on managing the "emergency patient". For example, learning to stabilise the patient, prioritising the most critical cases and treating patients as efficiently as possible.
One of my favourite sessions was the importance of establishing a positive working relationship with the sonographer. It was a very rewarding day, and we're all looking forward to putting our learnings into practice during our mentored placements in the clinics.
Read more: Diary of a Cutting Edger: Vet Emma gives first impressions of ECC programme
We also had a communications day with the Veterinary Defence Society (VDS), which was equally enjoyable. It was designed to improve our client communication skills and help us recognise that our responsibilities go beyond the animals we're treating. Pet owners who come into our emergency clinics are often, understandably, very stressed out and emotional, and this session focused on how to keep them informed while, at the same time, helping ensure they feel as comfortable as possible.
Another highlight of my week — and one that was probably unexpected, if I'm honest — was the evening we spent in the Vets Now contact centre. It receives up to 500,000 calls a year from people worried their pet is sick or injured and the call handlers and vet nurses who work there transfer the urgent emergency cases to the clinics we'll be operating in.
Read more: Claire says programme has provided invaluable route into ECC
Our evening started with a briefing about how the contact centre works, the typical questions pet owners might ask and what it takes to work there — great teamwork, empathy and so on.
The team get phone call after phone call, and just like the veterinary staff out in the clinics, they really don't know what they're going to come across next.
From the moment a call comes in, however, they get right into the flow. It's clearly a very intense but rewarding job, and their professionalism and friendliness made me appreciate the excellent service they provide. It also gave me a much better insight into the typical journey a pet owner might take before arriving at a Vets Now emergency clinic or hospital.
Read more: At the Cutting Edge: Aoife tells how Vets Now provides perfect launchpad for career
Everyone in the contact centre was very welcoming, and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening. It was genuinely inspiring, and I look forward to communicating with them in the middle of the night in the months and years to come!
Over the weekend we visited the old course at St Andrews, although we opted for a quiet game of mini-golf rather than a proper round. And to reward our hard work we also tested out the famous Anstruther Fish Bar, which was just as good as its reputation.
Now bring on week three — our last week of classroom-based learning before we go out into the clinics for our mentored placements.
The next intake for Cutting Edge is August and places are filling up fast. Anyone interested in applying should call the Vets Now recruitment team now on 01383 841181 or click here.