Not All Puppies and Kittens
By Leann Klenda, RVT: Spur Ridge Vet Hospital, Marion, KS
In our profession of veterinary medicine there’s an understanding from the public that our work environment is so glamorous because all we get to do is play with puppies and kitties all day. But most of you know, that’s not always the case. Yes we do get to see those cute little puppies occasionally, that lick our faces and stumble under our feet, but most days in this fast-paced profession we can end the day wondering if this was the right path to choose. During this time of year in the mixed animal practice where I work, we have hit the downward slope of Spring calving, and have had a steady run of breeding soundness exams. Our veterinarians are working hard to get the Fall-calving herds pregnancy examined and horses vaccinated, as well as staying busy seeing our small animal patients. And with all of that comes the not-so-glamorous part of the job.
There are days where it’s not even 10:00 am and your new work shoes and jeans are completely covered in digested grass and water or afterbirth. You itch from head to toe from little fine dog hairs from the surgery case you just prepped. And you are out of breath from trotting your horse lameness case back and forth multiple times, or wrestling that 80 pound German Shepherd for a basic nail trim. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has taken a step back, a deep breath and just wondered why? Why are we here? Why are we doing this?
Most likely you’ve had an interest in veterinary medicine before you even realized it. You grew up with animals or you grew up knowing that you had a passion of caring for animals. Or let’s face it, you just don’t deal with people very well, but you know down deep in your heart that you’re there for a reason. You work those days where you barely sit down for 30 minutes all day because you have the drive to be better than the technician or assistant you were the day before. Set some goals for yourself whether it be for the week, the month or for the year. Try to find some skills that you may be lacking or you’re not that comfortable doing (catheter placement, radiographs, or even client communication). This will definitely help with being content or prevent being stuck in a rut which eventually turns into burnout.
Because in the end you are there for a reason. You’re there to make cattle processing go smoother, to monitor that surgery patient under anesthesia, to help your veterinarian find the lameness issue that has been going on for six weeks in your client’s best horse, and to trim that German Shepherd’s nails because the client knows you’ll get the job done regardless.
Take pride in your job, and the not-so-glamorous parts will be outweighed by the gratifying side.