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New graduate's diary
  1. Jen Hall


For Jennifer Hall, the lull over the festive season has ended. With a number of vets away, those left in the practice are finding themselves kept very busy.

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Christmas and New Year are definitely over, and it's back to work with a vengeance. With some of the vets being away, the rest of us are running around trying to fit in all the calls.

My Christmas period on call was relatively quiet and, to tell the truth, on Christmas night I was a little disappointed not to have had any real emergencies. But, you know what they say – ‘Be careful what you wish for!’ At 6 am on Boxing Day morning, with only two hours to go until I was to hand over the phones, I was called out to a calving. The farmer helpfully suggested I bring the caesarean kit because ‘She's been at it since last night’, so I set off feeling a little excited and a bit nervous too. Luckily it wasn't too technical, just a bit of hard physical work, and no caesarean was needed. The cow, the farmer and the vet were pretty exhausted, but it was very rewarding and I enjoyed my Christmas turkey dinner even more than I would have normally done.

I had a great TB week last week – both of the big TB tests I did went clear, which means the farms are now on yearly testing. It's hard to describe the emotion, but, when most Thursdays and Fridays involve condemning animals to slaughter, it was refreshing to leave a farm feeling positive.

I did my second displaced abomasum operation last Friday. My colleague, Jenny, was so patient with me and helped by getting my operating kit ready – I do wonder if I will ever be ready to do one on my own. There is so much to prepare beforehand, not to mention actually carrying out the surgery.

My parlour audit requests are coming in thick and fast, and I need to keep on top of the paperwork or it just might run away with me.

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I lectured at the agricultural college this week – something that I found rewarding and eye opening, too. My remit was to explain to the students the role of vets in the agricultural industry and I think I succeeded. We had a dynamic discussion on TB – I explained how the test worked and why vets must do it correctly. I also described what vets do within DEFRA, and about working in private practice. The group of students ranged from 18 to 30 years old, which made for a varied audience, but they were all really positive about my talk and I've been invited back to do the same next year!

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