Page 10 - Chiron Calling Spring 2019
P. 10

Well, it’s safe to say it has been an interesting and exciting first year. In my brief time already in the RAVC, I have frequently left my civilian veterinary friends saying, ‘and you get paid to do that?!?!’, often frequently followed by ‘how much?’. And recently sitting in the office at a diary meeting, discussing weapon handling tests and parade rehearsals quickly followed by the surgery that day and drug stocks, I sat there chuckling to myself as I thought what a unique job I have.
Subsequent to gaining my commission in November 2017, which was followed by 6 weeks at Defence Medical Services (Whittington) for the troop commanders’ course, I rocked up at the Defence Animal Training Regiment (then DAC), not sure what to expect and feeling terribly out my depth. I was acutely aware that a lot of my university colleagues had been practicing for close to 9 months by now and I was yet to give an injection since graduation!
Being a new graduate and having not completed my PDP (Professional Development Phase), I learned that I was to go on a rotation system, working between the Veterinary Training Squadron at DATR, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), Vets4Pets as well as short stints with LONDIST and Veterinary Services Advisory Team (VSTAT). These rotations gave me a good chance to not only muck in and get my hands dirty, but also learn (now I was graduated and
theoretically knew what I was talking about) how various practices manage similar cases.
Working at VTS, 80% of my time was spent on canine and 20% on equine. Admittedly it took me some time to learn my Dutch Herders from my Malinois, having never (knowingly) come across one before, but soon I was relishing the work at VTS. Probably one of the hardest parts as a new grad coming in is just gaining confidence in drug selection and dosage. Thankfully at the VTS you normally have the time to do things methodically, as opposed to in private practice where you are acutely aware of time and financial pressures, compounding any potential mistakes. Working at VTS with a good team of experienced Vets and Nurses definitely helped with confidence in clinical decision making. I quickly learned how rewarding it is to work with not only some very intelligent military working animals (admittedly some brighter than others) but also handlers that genuinely care about their animals.
PDSA on the other hand was a whole different ball game, where as a vet you are frequently trying to fill in as much as the edges due to some strict financial constraints, but it makes you focus on other aspects of the work-up that you may not frequently rely on as much, such as a much more thorough physical examination of the animal you are dealing with.
(L-R) Lt Henry Mosey, Lt Cathy Friers & Lt Andy Rose
As the Vets4Pets stringent rules in financials and costs of service was not replicated whilst working in military practice, we could concentrate on the patients as well as the team working with you. Whilst this did bring me back to reality of some of the problems other colleagues were facing, it did also put me in back in front of caring clients who genuinely wanted the best for their animal, and it allowed me to build a rapport with clients over the time I was there, something which is difficult to do at PDSA, and helped remind me why I chose to become a vet in the first place.
However, as good as these experiences have been, the first time I got my civilian friends to sit up and take interest in my job
My first year in Practice as a Veterinary Officer – slightly different from civilian practice!
By Lt Andy Rose
  One for my Civilian graduate friends

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