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Final-year diary
  1. Jen Hall


Jennifer Hall will (hopefully) be one of the first tranche of veterinary students to qualify from Nottingham this summer. She has agreed to share with Vet Record Careers the trials and tribulations of her last few months at vet school as well as her experiences as she secures her first job.

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Today it dawned upon me that I have just six months until I take my final veterinary exams. Following an afternoon ‘practically applying’ my neurology lectures while staring at black-and-white images of MRIs and radiographs, I feel a little bit out of my depth. ‘Is reading an MRI a Day 1 competency?’ one peer asked our lecturer. ‘Don't panic,’ he replied to the student, who, by the end of the session, looked rather like a rabbit caught in headlights; ‘in your finals, no-one would expect you to pick up something on an MRI that wasn't blindingly obvious!’ There followed a rather inspiring pep talk from Mr Lecturer, which allowed me to take a different view on my style of learning – I feel a new leaf turning over.

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The key point of what he said was that everything we do now is a collection of skills to use later in life; it's all about application of knowledge. As a student, I have the comfort of supervision and back- up, so now is the time to ask questions and gain the resources I need so that, when I qualify, I can hit the ground running.

The thought of qualifying is an exciting, but equally scary, prospect. There is a part of me that cannot wait to finish and practise my new skills, but I am also petrified that suddenly I will be on my own, making life-and-death decisions, drawing up drugs of my own accord, with members of the public trusting me to do the best for their animals. No wonder our profession suffers from stress and anxiety!

How am I going to cope with the next few months? I will embrace every opportunity to create a portfolio of experience that I can use when I am in practice. That doesn't mean writing down and documenting every case I see, but if I can make learning experiences relevant to particular cases, they will be easier to recall.

I suppose that all practising vets went through this, and I'm sure most of the final-years feel the same as me.

Over the next few months, you can follow my progress and share my excitement and experiences as I become a veterinary surgeon.

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