Katie qualified from Bristol University in 2005 with distinction.
After working in general veterinary practice she achieved the RCVS certificate in Small Animal medicine and proceeded to be accepted as an Advanced Practitioner in 2015.
Motivation for studying for a veterinary Certificate
“I had always had an inner ambition to achieve another qualification after vet school. I didn’t really feel ready to hit the books straight away after qualifying and wanted to get some practical experience first and learn what the job was all about.
I also wanted to try and stay in general practice whilst achieving further qualifications rather than going back to University for lifestyle reasons, says Katie when asked why she embarked on her Small Animal Certificate.
Starting out as a vet
Katie went on to tell us a little bit about the challenges you can face when starting your veterinary career,
"Starting out as a new graduate in your first job can be a very challenging time. You are armed with a lot of knowledge, sometimes albeit more about the rarer conditions, but the application of it can be hard.
The financial side of the job can also be difficult. Combining this with on call and long days can make the first year exhausting and an emotional roller-coaster.
However, it does get easier and being finally able to use your hard earned knowledge doing a job that you have always longed to do and getting paid for it is very rewarding and makes it all worthwhile."
Achieving Advanced Practitioner Status
Knowing it was all worthwhile spurred Katie on to look at further education,
"I achieved the older style medicine certificate which required a lot of discipline as the syllabus was very broad and not module based as it is now.
It required a lot of dedication and hard work.
I used to work 8.30am until 7pm during the week with one early finish at 1pm. I worked 1/3 Saturday mornings. I also worked one night a week on call and 1/7 weekends on-call.
Study around these hours was tiring.
However, I did find revision more interesting then when I was at university as I could reflect on cases that I had and was managing. I had to have a case log and 6 case studies accepted. I was then examined with two written exams, a practical spot test and an oral examination."
The advantages of achieving the Advanced Certificate
Looking at the effort it took to complete and where it has take her, Katie reflects on achieving her Certificate,
"I have personally found achieving the certificate a great decision. I feel as though it consolidated my knowledge from university at the right time and increased my confidence and ability to work up cases. I immediately felt a more valued part of the team which was reflected in my salary.
I have now gained my Advanced Practitioner status which means that I have to record a minimum of 50 hours CPD a year and I need to complete module A of the new certificate to maintain the qualification over the next five years. This is not easy now as a part-time vet with two young children. However, I continue to have a passion and interest in veterinary medicine which will spur me on.
I would definitely recommend further qualifications to others but after getting some experience in the job first. Good luck!”
If you would like to talk to our professional vet team about opportunities with practices who support vets looking to complete certificates call them on 01423 813 453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org