Cutting Edge is Vets Now’s equivalent of a graduate trainee scheme — and is aimed at vets who are keen to work in emergency and critical care but who would like to build up their skills and confidence before taking sole charge.
Over the past few months, we’ve interviewed several of the vets who are on the programme right now, to find out their background and why they want to embark on a career in ECC.
Our latest Q&A is with Anne Barriere, who comes from the south west of France.
She decided to apply for a place on Cutting Edge after travelling the world and realising the veterinary profession in her home country didn’t quite meet the high clinical standards set by Vets Now.
Name: Anne Barrière
Tell me a bit about your background? I was in born in Toulouse, France, but grew up in a small town in the south-west called Auch.
Where did you go to university? I moved back to Toulouse when I was 18 where I did two years in a preparatory school before successfully applying for a place in the École nationale vétérinaire de Toulouse. I spent my final year in the US where I rotated for six months at Cornell University and UC Davis. The experience had a real impact on how I wanted to work and where I wanted to work. I knew I didn’t want to return to France to work because of the comparatively low quality of care.
When did you first decide to become a vet? I’ve always enjoyed being around animals, but when I was 11-years-old, I decided that I wanted to become an equine veterinarian. I started horse riding when I was six and quickly realised that I enjoyed taking care of the horse more than the riding lessons.
Give me a quick rundown of your career? In France, we were allowed to work in private practices while we studied. While writing my thesis, I worked in an emergency vet in a small animal clinic as well as a few other practices. After graduating, I worked for four months in a busy small animal practice near Paris. But I was quite unhappy with the lack of support and training I was receiving. A friend who had participated in a previous Cutting Edge programme convinced me to apply.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about being a vet? It’s difficult to think of just one reason why I love my work. I like the investigation side as well as the fact that you never stop learning. I also really enjoy interacting with clients and trying to help them as much as possible.
Why do you want to work in emergency and critical care? I enjoy working in ECC as I thrive on the fast-paced nature of emergencies and dealing with complicated cases. I joined the Cutting Edge programme because I wanted to gain more experience in ECC as well as refreshing what I’ve learned already. I’m looking forward to working for Vets Now as everyone is so supportive.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I tend not to look that far ahead, because if someone had told me five years ago when I entered vet school that I would be working for Vets Now in the UK, I wouldn’t have believed them. I do know I would like to do an internship and a residency at some point in the future, as well as perhaps working outside of Europe.
What are you hoping to get out of the Cutting Edge programme? I hope to improve my skills and knowledge in emergency medicine, with a focus on emergency surgical management as it is an area which really interests me.
What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of becoming a vet? My advice to French people would be to travel the world and see first-hand the level of veterinary standards in other countries. I think it’s important to see how other vets work and the level of care that they provide. I’d also recommend getting as much work experience as possible. Working in a clinic is easily the best way to understand the role and learn what’s required.
What do you like to do outside of work? I was quite active when I was in vet school as I had a lot of free time, and loads of sports associations to choose from, but for the last two years I’ve been so busy focusing on my career that I have not had the time or energy to spend on holidays. Now that I have a more balanced work-life at Vets Now, I hope to get back into yoga, dance and Thai boxing. I’m also a keen artist — I used to draw a lot in my spare time, I hope to find time to do it again.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done? Travelling across New Zealand and the USA by myself. I went to both countries as part of my university degree and took the opportunity to go on road trips whenever I could. I loved my time in both countries and want to travel more.
The next intake for Cutting Edge is already filling up fast. We are also recruiting for more experienced vets for Refresh Your Edge, and our new fast-track programme AdvantEdge. We are also recruiting vets for our 10-week induction Cutting Edge. If you, or any vets or vet nurses you know, are interested in applying, please email or call the Vets Now recruitment team for more information on 01383 841181.