How to Find Your Feet as a New Vet Grad Amid Covid-19

2020: what a year (so far). Many of you have graduated from vet school during the Covid-19 pandemic, which means you are entering your first jobs without the extensive practical experiences that often come in the final year. In these unprecedented circumstances, how can you find your feet? In the following, we take you through three steps for becoming a successful veterinarian despite setbacks that are out of your control.

Make a Plan

Create plans for the things that are in your control. Not only will this help you to feel grounded during a time of uncertainty, but will encourage you to take responsibility for your progression  despite the circumstances. 

No matter how small your goals are, ensure you write them down and stick to them. This could be perfecting blood tests, urine tests, performing your first surgeries effectively and having successful conversations with clients. Whilst it may be difficult to think of the ‘bigger picture’ at the moment, this does not stop you from setting short term goals that will help you to master specific skills.

The trick is to practice each small skill until you become a master. Keep focussed, keep persistent, and you will become successful! For more help with planning, check out the VetX career roadmap.

Talk to your Network

Although the pandemic is a collective crisis, it is affecting individuals in a myriad of ways. Fear of the unknown can be isolating, and you might find yourself retreating inwards. The pressure of being a new veterinarian is great, and on top of this you have to handle new Covid-19 measures in practice, whilst having missed out on a large portion of your final year. Although this is going to be tough, you are not alone. But remember it is also incredibly exciting – this is a moment you have worked towards for much of your life!

Reach out to your network, whether this be friends, family, colleagues or the VetX community. There is catharsis (and joy) in sharing experiences, and your network may be able to provide insightful advice for something you are struggling with.

Every new veterinarian should have a mentor (and probably many of them), but this kind of support is especially important in the current climate. Mentors can provide you with reassurance, in clinic tactics and share their own experiences. Although no one really knows how long it will take to emerge out of the pandemic or how the veterinary profession will be impacted in the long term, it can be surprisingly reassuring to discuss shared anxieties with a mentor figure. 

Reject Victimhood

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has not made transitioning into your first job easy, there are still things that are in your control. Don’t fall into the trap of victimhood, or feeling like the world is against you. You have worked hard for the past five years or so to get here, so don’t waste this opportunity to make a real impact!

Regardless of the current situation, you must take the steering wheel of your veterinary career, because no one else will drive it for you. When you need help, ask for it and seek out support from your boss, your colleagues and your mentor. 

Instead of fearing failure or blaming the world, step up to the plate and lean into your problems. No one masters a skill immediately, so perseverance is key. By the same token, you must be kind to yourself, especially when you make a mistake (which all new veterinarians do!). Set your boundaries and try not to become consumed by your work. It is really important to get out into nature, meditate regularly, get some exercise and spend time with people you love. And each day, focus on improving just one skill a little further. 

We are all in this together, but veterinarians are yet again demonstrating admirable resilience during this challenging time. On behalf of VetX International, thank you for all the hard work you are putting in – we are fully behind you. As you continue to set goals, engage with your network and build mental strength, you will start thriving in your career.

If you would like to develop your non-clinical skills even further, check out our FREE taster of the Thrive program: VetX:Thrive Lite. This trial course allows you to dip your toes into the course before committing fully; it’s well worth a try and there’s nothing to lose! To register, simply click below:

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