Monday, November 20, 2017

The Recent Graduate Survival Seminar and an update on the Vet Cook Book

puppy, hiding
First day at work feels?
It’s that time of year again – final-year students from most Australian veterinary schools are about to graduate into fully-fledged vets.

The first year out isn’t easy. Despite the hours (and there were many) of practical, clinic-based learning it’s still not the same as being confronted with animals we are ultimately responsible for. Competence and confidence take time to develop (and so they should) – but it’s easy to be impatient.

As a mentor of new graduates, and receiver of the occasional distraught phone call, I recommend seeking support, attending continuing professional development events (if not for the knowledge, for the networking), and having something non-veterinary in your life that can recharge you.

Every year the Centre for Veterinary Education (CVE) runs the Recent Graduate Survival Seminar, a one-and-a-half day review of the skills you will need when starting or returning to practice.

The theme is clinical reasoning, which is common across all areas of practice.
Among the speakers this year are colleagues James Carroll and Anthony Bennett, who were in my year at uni and are now successful mixed practitioners in Southern NSW and stars of the TV show Village Vets. There’s also Professor Geraldine Hunt, who taught us surgery, invented a novel approach for porto-systemic shunts, could close wounds that no one could believe would heal (they did), and is about as flappable as Ripley from Alien (although internally she did have anxieties like other vets, documented in the excellent book Pitfallsin Veterinary Surgery).

Also on the program are some amazing speakers including medical doctors, cattle vets, mixed practitioners, pathologists, regulators and specialists.

I will be giving a talk called “why is it so hard to be a good vet”, about some of the ethical challenges that practice throws our way.

If you want to check out the program or enroll, visit here. It has been designed to be as affordable as possible.

If you’re interested in reading more about clinical reasoning, there are three fantastic articles on clinical reasoning in fine medicine available via the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

The other big news is that the CVE threw their support behind the Vet Cook Book and it’s in the process of being printed. The Vet Cook Book, for those of you who recall, is an attempt to promote collegiality by collating recipes and stories from veterinarians, nurses, groomers, kennel-hands, doctors, receptionists, counsellers…anyone involved in our profession.

Behind the scenes there have been some very intense weeks between the editors, the team at the CVE and the printers. Things one takes for granted – turning 100+ word documents into a single volume, working out how to price a book you don’t know how many copies you will sell, working out the weight of pages in advance – has been challenging.

The book is now for sale via the CVE website, and there is a discounted price for students and nurses. You can order here - you do need to create a login, but it doesn't take long.

It contains recipes, stories and mental health tips.

Late last week we received the news that a number of organisations have come on board as sponsors. This means that if we sell all of our copies we should have some funds so that the CVE can develop and provide a mental health resource (the details to be worked out – we’re going to consult a number of groups including contributors once we have the figures).

As we state in the book, we’re under no illusion that a pavlova will end mental health issues or even the shocking suicide rate in our profession. But we do believe that making and sharing meals with colleagues is one way to start meaningful conversations.

DECLARATION: I work with the CVE on a volunteer basis from time to time.