Meet Zach…

Hi, I’m Zach, and I’m a fourth year Vet student at Charles Sturt University.

Being a student, I’ve still got a lot to learn before I’m ready to go out in to practice, but the good thing about that is I am learning every day! Instead of trying to fit in continuing education in a busy work schedule it’s like I’m in the middle of a 5 and a half-year VetPrac workshop…

Over the past few years I’ve had the chance to visit dozens of clinics and interact with vets from all over Australia. Whether it be surgery on a Maltese, a lameness workup in a Thoroughbred, or a few hours of pregnancy diagnosis in cattle (often all of those in one day in mixed practice!) I am lucky enough to be exposed to a huge variation in veterinary practice in a huge variety of locations.

When I’m seeing practice it is easy to see that the profession is continuing to change and evolve. No longer is it enough to just be ‘the vet down the road’, clinics are under increasing pressure to not only keep up with the latest science, but engage with their clients more than ever across social media. After all, are there really ever enough cat pictures on Facebook?

Changes in technology are also making it easier to help our patients. The ability to bring the client on side using tools such as digital otoscopes make it much easier to convince them that their dog really does have otitis, and that they really should use the medication they are being prescribed!

Moving into the future as a soon-to-be-graduated veterinarian I am excited, but also apprehensive. I know being a Vet is a challenging career that can be dangerous both physically and mentally – yet the increasing levels of support are reassuring for myself plus the thousands of other students in Australia. Mentoring programmes, which will provide a vital point of contact for new graduates, are beginning to be rolled out across the states.

The success of the AVA mentoring scheme in WA is exceptional and a great sign that there is support out there for people who need it. These more formal schemes are complemented by the increasing connectivity across technology. Physical isolation of regional practitioners is still a major issue when it comes to accessing services, but being able to catch up with colleagues with a quick message or Skype call can make a big impact.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that in 2014 it’s exciting to be at the beginning of a career in the Veterinary profession. It’s challenging, difficult, constantly changing, but also incredibly fun, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of it with you as I keep on making my way towards graduation.