“The great thing about working here is that you feel truly listened to. You can bring new ideas for running your practice and then be given the freedom and encouragement to get on with doing them. When I started, I had the idea of introducing a new graduate scheme with a particular focus on the increasingly broad non-clinical skills that vets need today. Rather than facing lots of barriers, I was given the support to start planning and implementing it quickly, and we’ve just launched the new scheme. Graduates spend two days with us every two months, completing a variety of continuous professional development tasks but, perhaps more importantly, spending quality time getting to know and support one another. I’ve concentrated on helping graduates develop their softer skills around things like coaching and communication techniques, as well as advice on how they themselves can manage their own well-being, as this is so important for vets today. We’ve had students coming through regularly and have had really good feedback on what’s worked and what hasn’t.
“I’ve had non-clinical skills training at other practices but the support on offer here really stands out. I’m currently over halfway through my leadership training, which involves travelling down to London once a month for different sessions. It’s always nice to have a change of scene from the clinic and to meet other vets that are going through similar experiences in their careers. We talk about specific skills that are particularly important for vets in leadership roles, things like giving feedback during appraisals. The fact that The Vet also employ practice managers with business backgrounds is fantastic and I’ve learnt a great amount through this.
“I always wanted to be a good vet, as I'm sure everyone did, which to me involves actually finding out what the problem is and ideally preventing illness rather than treating it. The Vet makes this easier because people are much more willing to run tests when the cost is lower. For example, I now run far more pre-operative blood samples because they're cheaper, which allows me to use safer anaesthetics if needed and to diagnose conditions before the pet is even showing symptoms. I’m currently using my continuous professional development time to focus on my clinical interests in anaesthesia and pain management.”
Bethany Birch BVetMed MRCVS
Clinical Director at The Vet Warrington