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New graduate's diary
  1. Jen Hall


Now more than six months' qualified, our diarist, Jen Hall, is feeling confident about working in large animal practice, but realises she still has much to learn.

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I am writing this article in the early hours of the morning, having just had an emergency call from a farmer. He was concerned because his cows were ‘going a bit mad’ and seemed to have been spooked by something, and he wanted the vet to come and help him calm them down.

This was not a joke; he was genuinely worried, so I jumped out of bed and got into my van to set off. Just as I was pulling out of the driveway I had another call: ‘Don't worry, they're OK now, I don't think I need you to come.’ If I hadn't been inspired to write my article off the back of this anecdote, I think I might have been rather annoyed. But, as I look out of my window across Dartmoor, it promises to be another sunny day in Devon, and watching the sun rise over Hay Tor is a special moment.

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Calving and lambing time has arrived, and as a result of this I've performed my first sheep caesarean! The ewe is still alive, so I am feeling rather pleased with myself, given the farmer's doubts on whether we should perform the procedure or not. Despite many challenges this month, I've also had a bit of a reality check. I have been in practice for six months, and I feel I've progressed a lot since I left university. However, I have been to a couple of CPD talks recently and the realisation of how much I still don't know has brought me back down to earth. I don't know if this is something that all new graduates go through – perhaps it is just me, and maybe it is a good thing. I was beginning to feel rather invincible in the world of cattle and sheep veterinary medicine. However, it is also a bit of a kick-start to make sure that I concentrate on books and journals when I have some spare time to ensure I am constantly backing up my clinical decisions with science. The only problem is that I need to invent a 28-hour day …

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