Emergency vet says induction programme provides fundamental insights into emergency medicine

Cutting Edge is Vets Now’s equivalent of a graduate trainee scheme.

It’s aimed at vets who have a solid foundation in UK general practice, but perhaps lack the skills and experience to take sole charge in an emergency setting.

Vet Louise Gibson, from Maidstone, Kent, embarked on the Cutting Edge programme last month. Here she gives a first-hand account of her experiences.

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What’s your background?
I grew up in a small village just outside Maidstone with my parents and my brother and sister. We had the best of the town and country on our doorstep. I went to an all girls secondary and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was really sad to leave but still remain friends with some classmates. These days I live with my husband in the countryside, although we’re still just 10 minutes away from my mum and dad.

Where did you go to university?
I did my first degree in biochemistry at the University of Kent in Canterbury and then went to the RVC to study veterinary medicine as a graduate.

When did you first decide to become a vet?
I’ve wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember. If you asked my parents they’d say I expressed my dream of becoming a vet as soon as I could talk. I’ve always been surrounded by animals and couldn’t be without them and I’ve always had a keen interest in science, too.

How did you end up at Vets Now?
After finishing my finals in 2013, I went abroad with a friend from vet school to carry out a spay clinic in Cyprus. I then spent a few months as a locum in an equine practice, before quickly realising it wasn’t for me, and moving into small animal practice. I’ve had two main jobs since leaving uni, both in first-opinion small animal practices in Kent. My first was for three years in a role specifically for new graduates and I was in my second just shy of two years.

What’s the best thing about being a vet?
Meeting all the animals, and feeling like in some small way, you’re making a positive difference to their lives.

More on this topic

Image of Cutting Edge August 18 vet Louise
Louise says making a positive difference to the lives of her patients is what makes being a vet so rewarding
Jobs at Vets Now

Interested in joining Cutting Edge?


Are you looking to enter the exciting world of ECC, but want to develop your skills before taking sole charge?

Find out more

Why do you want to work in emergency and critical care?
I feel very proud to be working in the emergency sector of veterinary medicine and hope to find my purpose in this field. It’s an area that really interests me and gives me that ‘fire in my belly’ when I’m working on the cases.

What prompted you to apply for Cutting Edge?
I have limited experience in ECC so I felt that this programme would better prepare me for the role. I also like the fact that there is a group of us all working towards the same goal.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully still working for Vets Now in ECC and feeling comfortable in my role. I’m considering doing a certificate in ECC as well. I would like to have children by then also, and feel that working out of hours is a good option for fitting around family life as my husband can be at home while I’m out working and vice versa.

What are you hoping to get out of the Cutting Edge programme?
I want to be able to deal with the majority of emergencies that may come through my door. I also want to build my confidence and adopt a methodical and successful approach to these cases.

What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of becoming a vet?
It can be very rewarding, but it’s also hard work, not just academically, but in terms of work-life balance, managing stress, finding the right practice, etc. I’d encourage anyone who wants to pursue this career to see practice in a number of locations and get a feel for what day-to-day ‘vetting’ is really like.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I love being outside. I also love snow, anything to do with Christmas, reindeer and anywhere cold! I like to spend time with my husband and family. I enjoy being with my own animals and I also love to read — generally fiction — crime novels or thrillers.

What’s the most exciting thing you have ever done?
Getting engaged in an igloo in the Arctic Circle and getting married at Christmas in a castle.