I’ve worked as a mixed practice vet for 8 years now and my life as a vet started on the beautiful peninsula that is Inishowen, Co. Donegal. Home to Ireland’s most northerly point, I accepted a job in one of the most picturesque spots in the country, living in a thatched cottage jutting into the Atlantic Ocean – sounds ideal, right? My bosses were beyond wonderful but fast forward two months and I was a bundle of nerves. I absolutely dreaded my on-call nights and always started my day with a knot in my stomach. I put so much pressure on myself when I first qualified to know all the answers- all of the time. Needless to say this was an unrealistic goal and it just added to my worry and stress. It’s pretty daunting starting work as a vet. Your head is bursting with all of your knowledge from college but it’s not always that easy to translate that into a diagnosis and treatment. For me, coming to terms with and accepting I was not enjoying my job was really difficult. Thanks to great family and friends I got my anxiety under control and got back to enjoying my job. So, what can I suggest.
Don’t start off thinking you’ve to fill anyone’s boots, you are there to be the best vet you can be. Don’t aim for perfection, it’s unachievable and I found it unhelpful.
If you are finding things tough don’t be afraid to admit this, I pretended everything was ok for months and things only got worse. We work in a caring profession but I think sometimes we aren’t very kind to ourselves. I used to tell myself to just get on with it! What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just cope like everyone else? I would never dream of talking to a friend like this so why do we talk to ourselves in this way? No matter your circumstances, it really is ok not to be ok.
Jenny graduated from UCD in 2012. She spent her first 2 years in mixed practice in Carndonagh Veterinary Clinic in Co. Donegal. After this she spent 6 months in small animal practice for Active Vet Care in Co.Dublin. For the past 5 years she has worked in mixed practice at Lagan Valley Vets in Co.Down.