Starting work experience at a small animal vets tomorrow - tips please? Watch

jennysaxton
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I'm starting work experience at a small animal vets tomorrow and I'd really appreciate some advice on how to make a good impression, what sort of questions to ask, without asking too many that I distract the vet etc.

Thanks!
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Northern
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Get the anti bacterial spray and give the examining table a spray with it and wipe down with a paper towel after each appointment you will be a vets best friend :yep:
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samz56
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Just be as helpful as you can really and make sure it shows that you are interested in whats going on (which I'm sure you are or else you wouldn't be going there anyway!!). If there's anything you don't understand or want to find out then just ask, it's the best way to learn from your work exp. Also be prepared to do the more routine jobs such as cleaning and making tea and coffee!!

Oh and I agree with the above as well!!!!
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pyrogena
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Don't annoy the nurses.
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Emily99
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If you want to ask questions wait until the patient has left the room, so the vet can concentrate on the owner/patient when they're in the room.
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kookabura
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^ yep, definatly. But, also it means you don't end up inadvertently worrying the client/sounding like you doubt the vet etc etc.
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ch0c0h01ic
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Dress smart - you're entering a professional occupation, dress smart-casual unless told otherwise

Be polite - wish everyone a good morning, shake hands, introduce yourself to the clients, etc

Be helpful - if you're at a loose end ask if there's anything you can help with, don't stand there and wait to be given a job

Show you're interested - ask lots of questions and if someone offers to show you something take them up on their offer even if it means staying a little later or missing part of your lunch break (you're there to learn after all)
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Rebbers
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Don't be afraid to ask them if you can watch an operation or consult - they'll be busy and might not always remember you! And you can definitely ask questions during ops, but obviously judge the mood. You can always ask during suturing at the end if an opportunity doesn't arise during the procedure.
Also, if you do little things without being asked, they will adore you. My thing is taking charge of the washing machine but washing up the coffee mugs and sweeping also work. It's obviously not the most exciting thing but will give you tons of brownie points.
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emilyyy
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I think one of the most important things to remember is that, while the above advice is pretty good, every surgery is different. So before you launch into doing all those things, just check with the vet/nurses first
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conspiracy-xo
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(Original post by Northern)
Get the anti bacterial spray and give the examining table a spray with it and wipe down with a paper towel after each appointment you will be a vets best friend :yep:

Yup and just help holding animals still to allow the vet to examine the animal/take bloods etc.
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Dissey
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I definitely agree with Emily. Some vets might not like you 'interfering' too much, and I have been at a vet practice like this, and you don't learn much at all.

But the most common experience is that the vets/nurses will really appreciate the extra help, and as long as you're polite and punctual, they should be happy to answer your questions.

I used to take a notebook and make case notes, then go home and google the drugs used, learn a bit more about the condition, and this is really useful with in-patients and follow ups - you'll feel much more involved!

Learning how everyone prefers their tea/coffee = WIN, helping to weigh the animal, cleaning the examining table, or if the vet is taking blood, have everything he/she needs laid out for him/her, etc. Help with restraining animals.

But the first day I would just kind of observe the way the vet surgery works, and see what they would deem appropriate/inappropriate. You probably have to 'prove' yourself, and they'lll start trusting you more and more over time.
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theparsniplady
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(Original post by conspiracy-xo)
Yup and just help holding animals still to allow the vet to examine the animal/take bloods etc.

You're not normally allowed to do this because of health and safety, but when you are given a chance to do anything then make the most of it and try to learn from it.

Also, once you get to know the vets a little bit it's a great opportunity to get their opinion on current veterinary issues etc which should help you to prepare for interviews in the future.

And yer, like others have said, make yourself well acquainted with the kettle- you'll soon be their best friend if you do that and keep your eye on their routines- like if the nurses sweep the floors after morning surgery, or do the washing up every day at a certain time then after a couple of days you can just use your initiative and offer to do it for them.

And remember to be friendly and ask as many q's as possible- there's nothing vets hate more than having someone with them for the week who hides in the corner and doesn't say anything- just try and chat to them about the cases you're seeing, but also things like their time at vet school, why they chose that branch of vet medicine, what their favourite things are about the job, etc. If they once know that you're really keen they'll usually make sure to involve you and explain stuff as they're doing it, and once you build up that relationship with them they will usually give you a bit of responsibility and let you help with things.
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Magickal
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I have to agree with all the things above. Just see where you can help out, make sure you're not in the way and make sure to be careful when observing operations. Obviously you don't want to end up with the vet having to scrub up again.

I'm sure you'll be fine, Good luck and enjoy your time. I can't wait til I go back to the vets in October half-term.
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jennysaxton
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Thank you very much, this has been very helpful. I have to say the first day was the hardest but now there's less awkward standing around as I know what I can do to help (clean, sweep, throw stuff away) whilst there's nothing for me to watch in between procedures.
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Enor
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I'd say a good bit of advice is write a thank you letter, then if you've made a good impression and if you liked them, then you may be able to go back etc. Lots of people build up 'loyalties' with their work exp vets, I always go back to the same vets, I love it there, nice people, good vets etc and then you don't keep having the awkwardness of a new place. Hope you're having fun!!
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jennysaxton
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(Original post by Enor)
I'd say a good bit of advice is write a thank you letter, then if you've made a good impression and if you liked them, then you may be able to go back etc. Lots of people build up 'loyalties' with their work exp vets, I always go back to the same vets, I love it there, nice people, good vets etc and then you don't keep having the awkwardness of a new place. Hope you're having fun!!
I'm having an amazing time thanks! I've seen and learnt loads, and understood a lot more of it than I did when I did my year 9 work experience :/

Writing a thank you letter is a really good idea, I'll leave some chocolates or something as well. The vet who owns it said they'd be able to get me some more work experience as I'm serious about it
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Enor
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(Original post by jennysaxton)
I'm having an amazing time thanks! I've seen and learnt loads, and understood a lot more of it than I did when I did my year 9 work experience :/

Writing a thank you letter is a really good idea, I'll leave some chocolates or something as well. The vet who owns it said they'd be able to get me some more work experience as I'm serious about it
Cool, sounds good. Onmy last day of a placement at the vets i spend most of my time at I always make a cake for them to share and then just post a thank you letter a couple of days later.

Glad you're having a great time!
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Starlit haze
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Clean up without being asked. Some vets don't like this but most do. For example, if a dog poos on the floor clean it up. If a cat pees, grab a mop. It will be appreciated.
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VMD100
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(Original post by Starlit haze)
Clean up without being asked. Some vets don't like this but most do. For example, if a dog poos on the floor clean it up. If a cat pees, grab a mop. It will be appreciated.
They're probably a qualified vet by now

I'd say your heart is in the right place but if you're a pre-university work experience student while showing initiative is good it can also be very dangerous. If they have shown you their way of doing something and granted you permission to do so then by all means do but pre-uni veterinary work experience students are primarily there as observers and not workers.
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