Four weeks into the latest Vets Now Cutting Edge programme, and our newest recruits have just swapped the classroom for the clinic. They are now out “in the field” — working alongside experienced senior vets — doing mentored shifts in our emergency clinics.

This week’s Cutting Edge Q&A is with Claire Desmond, from Dublin in Ireland, who is gaining valuable experience in our Alfreton clinic. Claire joined Vets Now after working in mixed practice, as she realised she had a passion for small animal medicine, and particularly ECC.

If you have what it takes to work in emergency and critical care, and would like to follow in Claire’s footsteps, click here.

Name: Claire Desmond

Hometown: Dublin, Ireland

Where did you go to university? I graduated in 2011 from University College Dublin.

When did you first decide to become a vet? I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was very young. I was always reading animal books and magazines and watching animal TV shows as a child, but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I knew I wanted to become a vet. I had a passion for biology at school and knew that I wanted a job that would be mentally stimulating, as well as practically based, so veterinary medicine fitted nicely.

An image of Claire Desmond for Vets Now article on Cutting Edge vet training programme

How did you end up at Vets Now? After graduating from university I worked in mixed practice, mainly working with dairy cows and some small animals. I have a certification in Dairy Herd Health and enjoy working with cows, but I wanted to gain more experience in small animal veterinary medicine. I could do the common procedures and treat the routine ailments well, but I wanted to master the unusual ones, which is why I joined the Cutting Edge programme. I also found emergency work the most rewarding in mixed practice. The same thing never happens twice, and I always looked forward to my weekends and nights on call.

What’s the most enjoyable thing about being a vet? Seeing animals recover when you never thought it would be possible. It’s amazing how the body can recover from severe trauma and how it compensates for deficits. I also like seeing newborns take their first breath and how they adapt to their new world.

Why do you want to work in emergency and critical care? For me, emergency work is the most rewarding part of veterinary medicine, and where you can make the biggest difference. No two cases are the same and you have to use your knowledge quickly and efficiently. It’s also nice to see the results of your work so quickly compared to non-emergency cases. I applied for the Cutting Edge programme because I followed Vets Now on various social media channels and loved the practical nature of the course. I knew that if I wanted to improve my skills, this was the way to do it.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Continuing to work in-clinic, loving emergency work and ensuring that I work to a high clinical standard.

What are you hoping to get out of the Cutting Edge programme? I’m hoping to gain confidence in techniques and procedures that I’m apprehensive about at the moment. I also think it will advance my clinical skills, as the company strives for such high clinical standards. I really like that about Cutting Edge, it pushes you to think about how you do things and how you can do them better.

What’s your advice to someone who is thinking of becoming a vet? Develop your people skills early on — every animal that comes into the clinic has a person attached to it, and sometimes how you treat that person can be equally as important as what you do for their pet. Don’t ever think you know all there is to know, every day is a school day in veterinary medicine and sometimes you learn the most important lessons from the most unlikely people.


What do you like to do outside of work? I like walking my dogs Finn and Jill, reading, and being outdoors.

What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done? I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro two years ago, which was a great experience. I also skydived in New Zealand, and scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef. I saw a cheetah kill a gazelle on the Serengeti. All very exciting at the time, but I don’t think I’d repeat any of them again!

The next intake for Cutting Edge is in April, and places are filling up fast. We are also recruiting for more experienced vets for Refresh Your Edge, and our new fast track programme AdvantEdge. If you, or any vets you know, are interested in applying, please call the Vets Now recruitment team for more information on 01383 841181 or Click here.