While plenty of people have a love of animals, it’s not just anyone who can be successful and excel as a veterinarian. Much more than playing with pets and performing check-ups, there’s a lot to consider first to make sure that you’re wearing your cute patterned long sleeve scrubs proudly and putting your best paw forward. From the intense intellectual tests that you’ll complete to the emotional and physical tests of strength that you’ll inevitably endure, noted below are 12 factors to consider before becoming a veterinarian.
People Are Part of the Job
Interacting with pet owners is a major part of the job. Between explaining treatments and retrieving medical history, you’ll likely find yourself interacting with your patient’s humans more intricately than your patients themselves.
Veterinary School Is Intense
Most veterinary programs are around four years in length. The amount of curriculum packed into these four years is comparable to a normal 6–8-year program. A challenge shouldn’t scare you, but it is important to consider your self-discipline and level of commitment before jumping in!
There’s Plenty of Opportunity for Professional Development
Whether attending conferences and seminars to keep up to date and continue increasing your knowledge or advancing your career through a shift in placement or specializations, careers in veterinary medicine offer endless development opportunities. As an experienced vet, you can focus on clientele ranging from small exotics to large livestock or even focus on your daily routine and responsibilities anywhere from animal behavior to pet owner relations.
There Are Endless Options for Places to Practice
While a number of paths can lead you to an office setting as a veterinarian, there are plenty of other options if you’d prefer to be somewhere else. Being a veterinarian offers diverse opportunities, as far as placement goes. From laboratories to national parks, you’ll be welcome in your choice of work environments.
You’ll Probably Need a Certain Amount of Skill in Business, Too
There’s no denying the dream of owning your own practice as a veterinarian. Considering that a huge number of veterinarians not only dream of but actually do choose to pursue and maintain private-practice careers out of their own offices, having a certain amount of business skill will only do you good.
You’ll Meet Your People
As an aspiring vet, you and your classmates will probably share a love of animals, a solid work ethic and morals, an understanding of the pressures and challenges of veterinary school and much more. Along with this, veterinary schooling boasts a unique diversity in students, coming from all sorts of backgrounds. These will be your types of people, and you’ll likely forge life-long friendships throughout your years with them.
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Your Emotional Strength Will Be Put to the Test
It can play on your emotions to watch the majority of animals that come through your doors cower in fear or lash out in terror at you and the procedures you have to perform, and it can be even harder when their owners see this and do the same out of concern. Even when all goes well, though, there are parts of the job that will inevitably pull at your heartstrings — this passion is what will make you a good vet, but learning how to control and compartmentalize it appropriately will be what makes you a great vet.
Nothing Goes as Planned with Your Patients
As noted above, interacting with pet owners is crucial — and you’ll master it. Interactions with your patients themselves, though, can never be guaranteed to go as smoothly, let alone as planned. From normal anxiety that accompanies an animal in an unfamiliar setting to an innocent movement or machine that sets them off, there’s plenty of reasons for an animal to get spooked and react poorly or unpredictably when they come to see you.
It’s an Extremely Demanding Career
Most veterinary visits are out of necessity and are generally urgent. Even on a day filled with more pleasant appointments, though, the pace never slows. Between meeting your appointments non-stop throughout the day, taking phone calls, tending to patients and so much more, you’ll be juggling different concerns, switching between tasks and reorganizing priorities all day long — and you’ll have to be entirely focused and engaged for every little bit of it.
People Will Question Your Passion
Between the cost and the confusion and wanting to baby the pet who’s undergoing some sort of issue, having to let you (the stranger) poke and prod at their baby instead can leave pet owners just as upset about going to the vet as their pets, and it may even have them question your passion and procedures irrationally out of concern.
You Get to Buy the Cutest Scrubs — and a Lot of Them
A pair of ill-fitting or uncomfortable scrubs can hamper your workday and end up buried in your laundry hamper forever. It is essential to pay attention and invest in scrubs that have plenty of pockets for treats, stitching that your patients can’t catch with their claws and lengths and fits that won’t hinder your ability to pick up or handle them.
Along with this, your patients probably don’t mean to, but they will inevitably have moments when they can’t help but to make a mess of your scrubs — so you’ll need more than a couple of pairs. Luckily, finding cute scrubs for women veterinarians with the features they need, in styles they’ll love, has become increasingly easier for positions like this that already offer up enough challenges.
Your Physical Strength Will Be Exhausted Daily
Along with strengthening your intellectual and emotional capabilities, you’ll have to meet the intense physical demands associated with being a vet. Though things like charts and paperwork and fielding phones can all be parts of your job, very little time is spent sitting down. You’ll be on your feet a lot, and it is crucial on a daily basis to have the ability to lift patients at least from floor to waist height, move patients between areas, carry supplies and do much more as efficiently as possible.
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Putting Your Best Paw Forward
There’s a lot to consider before pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. No matter how much you do consider, plan and prepare, you’ll never know what’s going to come through your doors when you’re a practicing vet, so what you may need to consider most is that ANYTHING could be a possibility!