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.
- British Veterinary Association
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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.
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 …