Our aim at Vets Now is to ensure we offer career progression opportunities and continuing professional development for all of our people.
One vet who has taken advantage of our enhanced continuous development package is Anneka Phillips, senior vet in Bristol. We caught up with Anneka to find out how she is benefiting from the learning culture at Vets Now.
For many veterinary graduates, the first year working in a first-opinion practice usually follows the same pattern.
“Everything is new, you’re on a steep learning curve, and then it plateaus,” explains Anneka Phillips, senior vet in Bristol.
“You’re faced with a choice about where to take your career.”
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Anneka, 27, who is originally from Gibraltar but now lives in Bristol, made the decision to join Vets Now because she was desperate for that learning curve to turn upwards again.
She first embarked on our Cutting Edge programme before sitting the distance learning Emergency Patient course.
Now she’s about one-third of the way into the Cert AVP in emergency and critical care, which, once completed, will afford her advanced practitioner status.
Anneka, who spent more than two years in the emergency team in Swindon before becoming senior vet in Bristol earlier this year, is one of many Vets Now vets taking advantage of the company’s study support programme.
It rewards staff who enrol in either the Cert AVP ECC or PG Cert ECC with financial support, time off to study and a cash incentive to complete the certificate.
“It’s a fantastic benefit,” said Anneka, who graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2014.
“I can’t praise Vets Now highly enough for the help and support they’ve given me to progress my career.
“Everyone is so encouraging and supportive and the time off I’ve had for studying and exam preparation has been invaluable. I don’t think anyone in the profession can rival Vets Now for CPD and further training.”
Anneka Phillips Vets Now Bristol Senior Vet
"I can't even begin to compare the vet I am now to the vet I was two years ago.”
Anneka says she has been immersed in a culture of constant learning since joining Vets Now.
“It’s never stopped,” she added. “The Cutting Edge programme was intense and formed a really solid foundation for me to work from. But as soon as I started to apply that knowledge, I was urged to start the 10-week Emergency Patient course.
“Then, once I’d completed that, I was encouraged to start my certificate.
“It’s great as far as career development and clinical progression go because you’re always learning and never bored. I can’t even begin to compare the vet I am now to the vet I was two years ago.”
While still in the early stages of her first managerial job at Vets Now, Anneka has big ambitions. She says she wants to put the Bristol clinic “on the map” and is keen to use the skills and experience she has gained to mentor other young vets.
But Anneka has some words of advice for anyone considering following in her footsteps.
“ You need to be disciplined,” she insists. “It’s really important for work/life balance and to avoid burnout. I want to be working in ECC in 10 years’ time and I know that won’t be sustainable if I don’t have downtime.
“I set aside days for work, days for training and days where I don’t do anything work-related at all. I use these to meet friends and family and to do the things I enjoy.
“As vets, we have to do at least 35 hours of CPD a year, but in 2016 I did close to 400, and last year I did 250. That’s only possible if you have the support of your employer, a reasonable amount of downtime and a good support network in place.”
Veterinary certification: How we support our people
We financially support vets who enrol in either the CertAVPECC or PGCertECC. As part of this, they are allocated 100 hours of CPD study a year to focus on learning and 45 hours’ preparation time upon enrolment of the final exam. In recognition of their commitment to their continued development with Vets Now, they are also rewarded with an annual qualification award of £2,500 on successful completion of certification.