Over the past eight weeks, we've interviewed several of the vets currently going through our Cutting Edge induction programme, to find out what they enjoy most about their job and why they have chosen to embark on a career in emergency and critical care.
Our latest interviewee is Katie Bailes, a vet from Deal in Kent, who applied for a place on Cutting Edge two years after completing the Vets Now EMS programme while still an undergraduate student.
Katie, who has just enjoyed a four-week block of mentored shifts in our Ashford clinic, joined Vets Now after a spell as a general practitioner. If you would like to follow in her footsteps, click here.
Name: Katie Bailes
Hometown: Deal, Kent
Where did you go to university?
I studied veterinary medicine at the University of Bristol.
What made you want to be a vet?
I’ve always had an interest in animals, so becoming a vet was my dream from a young age. At school, I enjoyed science and so started to consider veterinary medicine more seriously. I did work experience in both small and large animal practices, and I knew then it was the right career for me.
Read more: From Poznan to Portsmouth: Lukasz is our 'one in a million' emergency vet
Give me a quick rundown of your career?
I qualified from Bristol University last year and moved back to Kent to work as a small animal GP. I enjoyed most aspects of GP work but really thrived with emergency cases. While I was a student I did an EMS placement with Vets Now in the Gillingham clinic, which I found incredibly useful and exciting, so when I heard about the Vets Now Cutting Edge programme, for me it was the perfect transition into ECC practice.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about being a vet?
The most enjoyable thing about being a vet is when a patient surprises you. There have been a few cases I’ve been involved in where the patient has had a very poor prognosis, but then made it through the treatment and returned home with their family. Those are the best cases.
Why do you want to work in emergency and critical care?
I enjoy the fast-paced environment of an ECC clinic, where every decision can make an enormous difference. In emergency cases, things tend to move faster and you can make a huge difference for your patient in a relatively short space of time, so I have always found emergency cases particularly satisfying.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I don't have any set plans for the next five years but would certainly consider a post-graduate certificate or even a residency in ECC or diagnostic imaging.
What are you hoping to get out of the Cutting Edge programme?
I hope to gain a solid grounding in emergency practice, continue to improve both my medical and surgical skills, and gain the confidence to work sole charge. What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of becoming a vet? Do your research. It’s a fantastic and rewarding career but it can be emotionally and physically taxing, with long hours and difficult decisions — but I would do it all again. I would recommend that you see as much practice as you can before making a decision, so you know what you’re getting into.
Read more: How well does the Cutting Edge programme equip vets for life in emergency and critical care?
What do you like to do outside of work?
I have two naughty young dogs — a German Spitz Klein and a working Cocker Spaniel — so exercising and training them takes up a fair proportion of my free time. I love exploring new cities, but equally, after a long shift, it's nice to just relax and watch some Criminal Minds.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
I have a real passion for scuba diving and exploring the underwater environment. I have a long list of exciting places I want to dive in the future.
The next intake for Cutting Edge is in August, and places are filling up fast. We are also recruiting for more experienced vets for Refresh Your Edge, and our new fast-track programme AdvantEdge. If you, or any vets you know, are interested in applying, please call the Vets Now recruitment team for more information on 01383 841181 or click here.