Support makes all the difference
I am fortunate to be supported by senior clinicians every night and there is always someone on call to discuss cases or assist in surgery. This, I have learned, is one of the most valuable aspects in a first job. It takes the stress out of making decisions. You don’t have to lie awake at night wondering if you made the right treatment choice, because another older and wiser veterinarian was there to guide you.
So if I have one piece of advice for new graduates it would be to find a job where you are supported every step of the way. No one tells you of the constant mental stress caused by the decision making process, because in reality you don’t know everything and worrying about a case long after it’s over is torture.
Dr Brooke Schampers
A career in emergency medicine is an emotional rollercoaster — there are huge wins and big losses. We see the most critical animals in Australia and it is heartbreaking to lose patients but in turn, you also say goodbye to patients you have just met. That may seem a little cynical but it is often too soon to develop an emotional connection, which does make this side of the work easier.
A balancing act
The hours are long and the shifts are irregular but this works for me. Shift life definitely has its perks.
Doing three to four shifts a week allows for an interesting work life balance. It means the cafes are always quiet, the roads are free of traffic and there is time to enjoy the sunshine. Sleeping becomes an art form — carefully timing naps prior to long shifts, and then not sleeping too long into the day to avoid a poor sleep cycle. I am fortunate to be able to sleep whenever and where ever, but for those looking at a career in ER it is important to consider if this balance is right for you.
Every shift is different, with its own highs and lows. I get that emergency buzz often; a jolt of adrenaline when a GDV arrives or I diagnose a case of IMHA. But nothing quite matches the feeling when a critically ill patient returns to their family.
For more of Dr Brooke’s adventures in the ER, follow her on Instagram @doctor_brooke.
Are you interested in being the help that an injured animal needs? Consider what you could do with JCU Veterinary and Animal Science.