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Preparing for work experience

Preparing for work experience at a veterinary practice

Narrated by Sian Rosser, Veterinary Surgeon, BVSc MRCVS

If you’re heading off to do work experience at a Vet practice, you might like to see how Chris has planned out his day and use some of the advice in this film to help you gain the most from your placement.

You may well be invited to attend consultations with either vets or nurses whilst at the practice. Do be polite and professional and ask where you should stand. Certainly don’t interrupt staff and give your own opinion. You can interact with clients if they chat to you but don’t touch any pets unless advised to do so.

The prep room is a busy place in a small animal practice where patients are prepared for surgery. Don’t touch any site which has been prepared and cleaned for surgery or any of the surgical equipment. Stay out of the way of xrays, read any H&S notices and don’t touch any animals as they may be nervous and could bite.

If you’re spending time with a farm or an equine vet, you may need to consider that you could be out with them in their car all day. You’ll need to bring warm coat, wellies and waterproofs (this may be able to be borrowed from the practice). You’ll also need your lunch with you and a drink.

Do take care on farms and equine yards as there are plenty of potential hazards. Ask where to stand so as not to spook livestock, particularly sheep and horses and be careful if cattle are in crushes to hold them still. Follow the vets lead, or ask for advice, on cleaning boots, equipment, clothes and hands before entering or leaving the premises.

Vet practice is a really busy environment. You may need to accept that you will largely be observing. Don’t just follow the vet around, many other staff will be able to show you the wider role of the vet clinic – watch how they communicate with different clients and team members and learn from this.

At quieter times of day there may be jobs that you can help with – for example, there’s always lots of cleaning! But if you help with this, the team may trust you to do other jobs, such as patient care, giving medications and taking dogs for a walk if they’re safe to do so. If you can help out like this, you’ll really feel part of the team, they will begin to trust you and you will get more out of your placement.

It’s likely you will see lots of interesting cases on your placement but everything you see is confidential. Do not share any images, client details, identifiable information on social media or online. It would also be a good idea not to use your phone apart from in breaks or in an emergency as you may seem disinterested if you are on your phone. If you follow these simple rules you are likely to have a really good time and really enjoy the experience. Don’t forget to bring cake on your last day and good luck!

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