It is almost a year to the day since Jen Hall graduated from Nottingham – one of the first group of vets to do so. Here, she looks back on her first year in practice and offers some thoughts on PDP.
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How time flies! It has been a rollercoaster of a year and I have encountered some serious learning curves. On the whole, I can truly say my first year in practice has been a positive experience, but, naturally, there have been a few low points, and some amusing ones too. I've been lucky to have fantastic support from the practice as well as a really good experience with our clients. I feel exhausted and satisfied all at the same time and am looking forward to a well-earned holiday in August to go and find the sunshine.
The experiences I've had over the year have been varied. I have had some busy on-call nights and weekends that have allowed me to develop my surgery and calving skills. And, while the weekdays have involved a fair amount of TB testing, I've found that it gives me a bit of respite knowing that on these days I do not have to use my brain so much. TB testing has also given me a chance to spot some opportunities for disease investigations (particularly pneumonia) and routine fertility visits. I now have three of my own farms where I perform their routine fertility work, something I didn't imagine I would be doing so early on in my practice career. On top of this, I have picked up some of the mastitis work in the practice and am developing an interest in this area.
I have just completed my PDP online too, so I really feel like I've signed off my first year. I have mixed feelings about PDP; as a farm practitioner, putting numbers to certain aspects of my work is impractical. For example, I have lost count of the numbers of pregnancy diagnosis examinations I have carried out and the blood testing I have done. It would be good to have an option to sign skills off once you are happy doing them. I have kept my own record of my achievements, and have periodically updated this on the PDP website. I have found this way of doing things allows me to keep track of my skills.
Although this is my last contribution to ‘New graduate's diary’, I will be taking over as the new graduate representative on BVA Council and plan to be active on BVA's online forum, so you've not heard the last of me yet.