Future Developments – One of the goals of Vet futures Action Plan 2016-2020 is to create an online veterinary careers hub, to include careers advice for school students and veterinary undergraduates, extramural studies (EMS) opportunities, and career development guidance for vets at all stages in their careers (see pg 22 of the report)
“The development of an online hub, as a portal for gathering together or signposting to this information, should help better measure expectations of those entering the profession, improve awareness of the greater range of veterinary roles available and encourage diversi cation, provide clear career paths and stimulate EMS and continuing professional development (CPD) providers to develop relevant learning opportunities.
In addition, careers materials should be reviewed and developed with an eye to ensuring that potential students, their parents and careers advisors will have a clear picture of the realities of life at vet school and the career paths that may follow. This ought to reduce some of the dissonance between expectation and reality that can cause stress in later life.
Public promotion of the hub will also help us to meet the objective of raising public awareness of the wider roles that veterinary surgeons play in society. Promotion of the hub will be accompanied by activities such the recruitment of careers ambassadors, talks at events such as the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) Final-year Seminar, and the social media communication of some of the hub’s resources (such as case studies).”
Fancy something different…
Training as a vet gives you a whole set of transferrable skills which make you eminently employable in many sectors. Many of us use our degree in the first few years, then look for new challenges. Sadly this if often as our enthusiasm wanes or stress increases. Try to make the change a proactive, positive move TOWARDS something you are passionate about, rather than just moving away from a job you’re not happy with. Options include:
Locum work – allows for greater flexibility, and trying out different practice set ups. It’s not for everyone and it’s important to be informed to make sure you’re suited to locum work – this guide from Simply Locums is a good place to start. It can be a great stop-gap while you’re exploring other career paths too.
Practice ownership – Jumping in with both feet – setting up a practice or becoming a partner or director of an existing practice. There are some new, exciting models being trialled by entrepreneurial vets – practices set up to improve working standards. If you don’t like your practice model then how about developing a better one? The VIN Foundation in the USA have a StartUp club for those looking to start practices. Contact them for support and advice.
Specialisation – internship, residency, specialisation… this often enables us to follow the diagnostic and treatment trail further, allowing us to do what we trained for more often than we experience in first opinion practice. These positions are fiercely contested and require dedicated time and effort. Only start on this route if you’re 100% sure it’s what you want to do. It should NOT be the default path for those disillusioned with general practice.
Education – with new veterinary schools popping up, there are more opportunities to get involved with education. Teaching starts in practice, with vet students and vet nursing students. If you enjoy being an educator, then knock on the doors of local animal welfare colleges, veterinary nursing institutions etc. and see if they have any positions or opportunities.
Research – PhD, research, academia… With the development of the One Health initiative there is more collaboration across the medical/veterinary professions than ever before, to make a difference to health and welfare for people and animals across the globe.
Industry – be it pharmaceutical/ food/ suppliers, there are a huge range of opportunities for vets to transfer across. If you fancy a job which often involves travelling and development of new skill sets this is worth looking into.
Public health – both within the private and public sectors. This isn’t just meat inspection, but everything from advising petting zoos to disaster planning in the event of a natural disaster.
Charity work – from local shelter medicine, to veterinary advisors within global welfare charities, charity work can give a genuine sense of wellbeing and progress animal health and welfare across a much broader scale. If no charity job offers are advertised, contact a charity you’re passionate about and ask if they need or want advice or practical help. You’ll meet inspiring people and gain a real sense of fulfilment.
Something completely different… ever fancied yourself as an entrepreneur? Read Lawrence Brown’s blog
The Facebook community ‘Veterinary: stay, go, diversify‘ showcases career profiles, interviews and posts from vets pursuing different career paths. Or checkout the website from the recent live event.