When did you first decide to become a vet?
It’s always been my ambition. We had animals growing up and it was always the career I envisaged doing while at school. Being anything other than a vet was never an option for me.
Tell me about your role in our Edge programmes?
I’m a very keen user of ultrasound. I think it’s a very useful tool for treating emergency and critical care patients. On the Edge programmes, I take relatively new vets with little experience of ultrasound and train them in ultrasound mapping and how to properly use ultrasound in the treatment and diagnosis of emergency and critical care patients.
Why such enthusiasm for ultrasound?
In terms of ECC, I find ultrasound to be unbelievably useful. I couldn’t do my job properly without it. It gives you so much information so quickly and so safely. It allows you to reach a diagnosis quickly and start treatment without delay.
What are you hoping the Edge vets will take away from your lectures?
Hopefully, they’ll take away some of my enthusiasm for ultrasound as well as realising how useful it really is. I also hope that once they complete the practical session with me, they will gain confidence in using the equipment to effectively diagnose patients and can then practice that at their own clinics.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring vets, what would it be?
Do as much work experience as possible and make sure you’re really committed to becoming a vet. It’s hard work training to be a vet and the job itself is very difficult. There is quite a high drop-out rate and I think people need to be sure it’s the path they want to go down. Get as much exposure to seeing practice in a vet before you apply, just so you’re absolutely sure it’s the career for you. It’s a long road to go down to then realise it’s not where your heart is.
What’s your advice for vets considering a career in ECC?
The variety is the most enjoyable thing. You never know what’s going to come through the door, I like the adrenaline and the excitement I get every time the phone rings. I really like the urgent cases — the ones where what you do is crucial to the patient’s outcome and makes a difference. It makes you feel like you’re doing something that really matters.
What’s your background?
I grew up in Kent and went to vet school in Cambridge, although I’d already done a degree and a PhD before I started the vet course. I graduated in veterinary medicine in 2003 and my first job was as an intern at Edinburgh vet school. After that, I spent some time in general practice while studying for my certificates before returning to Scotland.
How do you relax?
I have a few hobbies that I like to do outside of work. I love mountain biking and cooking and just pottering around in the garden. I find gardening really relaxing. I also have three children — two girls and one boy — so a lot of my time is taken up spending time with them. My children are five, three and two.