Annie, a final year student at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in Nottingham, tells of the vital skills she picked up while on placement at Vets Now
I've always had an interest in small animal medicine and, like most medics, the excitement of emergency and critical care has always attracted me.
I approached Vets Now in Coventry to do a two-week elective placement in my final year. I was unsure about what to expect – I really enjoy my sleep – but soon realised my Vets Now placement would be one of my all-time favourites.
I'm by no means a night owl but coped surprisingly well with the 6pm to 7am shifts. On quiet nights I'd leave between 1am and 4am, when the excitement had calmed, and on others I'd work all the way through until morning with very few breaks. And I loved it!
Coventry is a very busy clinic and I saw lots of emergency and critical cases. The vets were fantastic and allowed me to get very involved, whether that was placing an IV line or using the ultrasound machine to fast scan for abdominal bleeding. I also got involved in emergency surgery, including a coeliotomy and a C-section at 4am.
Aside from the practical skills I gained, which were numerous, I had an invaluable chance to communicate with clients who were stressed and frightened, and concerned for their pets.
This is something every new graduate has to do in practice but we are given so few practical opportunities to refine the communication skills that can turn a stressful situation into a calm and controlled one.
The best part about my placement at Vets Now was the clinical discussion and support I was given from the amazing nurses and vets. I was given the chance to have an active role in clinical discussions and treatment options, and to carry these out when deemed appropriate.
Going into practice this year I feel so much more confident about my ability to deal with emergency situations and, most importantly, make the right decisions. Despite the stressful shifts the staff were really friendly, welcoming and very funny. I had great fun, met some great people who I'm still friends with and I learnt loads – what more could you want.
I'd like to say a special thank you to Ken, Andrew, Sarah, Hallie and AJ.
To find out more about EMS opportunities at Vets Now click here.