Posted By: Megan - Vet

A new graduate vet in a Covid world

On the 6th of March little did I know I had just had my last ever day at university. Less than two weeks later, whilst on a placement with Shepton Vets we were informed of the universities closure due to Covid19. As lockdown progressed it was clear that we would not be returning, and so the last of our university rotation teaching became online. For me this meant 3 weeks of feline medicine (my favourite topic!) from my dining room. Fast forward to finals – which I did from my bed with a cup of tea, and an online graduation ceremony, I was catapulted into adult life and became a fully-fledged veterinary surgeon.

I knew I wanted to work at Shepton since my 3rd year at university. The whole team is without a doubt the best I have worked with and when I was offered the job I was truly over the moon. Amidst the pandemic and the uncertainty of the future I was very lucky to still have a job, and even luckier to start in such a thriving and supportive environment.

The first year of a new grad vet is turbulent to say the least. Every day is a learning curve (some days being a vertical slope!), but every day I love it more. When you come out of university you have theoretically been taught everything you need to know to be a first opinion vet. It’s not until you start working that you realise being a vet is so much more than book smarts – it’s about communication, time management, working under pressure and team work. Being a vet is physically and mentally taxing and the first few weeks of working life I spent many evenings ordering in food and falling asleep on the sofa before 9pm. Just as I was getting used to the fast-paced work and long days, I started on the on-call rota. Being a proud independent practice we provide 24/7 care for all our patients and I couldn’t wait to jump in. Emergency work is something I am passionate about, but I didn’t quite anticipate how nerve wracking it would be! The moment my phone went off for the first time I felt physically sick – ‘what is it going to be?’, ‘will I be able to handle it?’, ‘what’s the practice alarm code?!’.  I became a vet because, as cliché as it is, I love animals. The moment the responsibility of that animal falls on your shoulders can feel like a heavy burden. Speaking for all vets, we genuinely care about each and every single one of the patients we see and I know I’m not the only one who worries about them late at night or who wakes up and wonders how they are doing. Thankfully I’ve always had, and still have, someone there to help me – even with my silly new grad questions at 2am to put my mind at rest!

Starting my career during a worldwide pandemic is not something I had ever prepared for, and undoubtedly has made the transition much harder. We, as a practice, are very lucky to have such understanding clients who appreciate the extra measures we are going to, to keep everyone safe. Consulting in the car park has had its challenges and as we go into the winter months we are sure to see these become more challenging. So for your patience and support, we sincerely thank you!


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