Experienced vet says embarking on AdvantEdge programme gave her a ‘timely boost’

Four years ago Jackie Leavitt made a life-changing decision.

She chose to sell her stake in the first-opinion practice in London she’d worked tirelessly in for 20 years, first as an assistant and then as a partner.

But rather than put her feet up and sail into the sunset, Jackie sought a fresh challenge that was both demanding and exciting.

It perhaps took her longer than expected but she eventually found it at Vets Now.

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“We sold the practice in 2015 and I relocated to Derbyshire and started working part-time in a fairly quiet, first-opinion clinic,” explained Jackie, who graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine in 1990.

“But the job wasn’t as appealing as I’d hoped so I decided to look elsewhere.”

Jackie saw an advert for Vets Now in the veterinary press and her interest in working in out-of-hours emergency was piqued.

Our team quickly spotted Jackie’s potential – and were impressed by her enthusiasm.

She was, it seemed, a perfect fit for AdvantEdge, which is a two-week residential induction programme aimed at clinicians who have a solid level of expertise but want an accelerated route into emergency and critical care.

Jackie found the exciting new challenge she had been looking for at Vets Now

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“I thought it looked interesting and potentially right for me and I was right,” Jackie said. “The programme focused on the approach to the emergency patient, going beyond what you’re taught in academia.

“The lecturers – all highly experienced clinicians – were excellent and approachable and taught us lots of practical tips and tricks. The exotics session with Neil Forbes was particularly helpful as I hadn’t done a lot of work in exotics in first-opinion practice.”

Asked what she’d enjoyed most about AdvantEdge, Jackie highlighted the practical sessions and didactic lectures but said “meeting such a diverse group of colleagues” had had the biggest impact on her.

“One of my fears was turning up and discovering I was among a group of young, super-keen vets with masses of experience but, in reality, there was a broad range of people and the icing on the cake was the fact I wasn’t the oldest,” she laughed.

“Each member brought something different to the group and we built up a supportive network which I’m hoping will last for many years.”

Image of AdvantEdge team for Vets Now article on AdvantEdge training programme
Meeting such a diverse group of people was a highlight of Jackie's AdvantEdge experience

At the time of writing, Jackie has been working for Vets Now in Macclesfield for four months. She said she’s enjoying the challenge of out-of-hours emergency work and has been particularly impressed by the culture and values that permeate the company.

“My overall impression of Vets Now has been really positive,” Jackie said. “The management are supportive of their staff and they do more than pay lip service to looking after people who want different things from their career.

“It’s a really good place to work if you want to do part-time hours or different things in your life. There are also lots of opportunities if you want to progress your career. They really invest in developing their employees and helping them realise their aspirations.

“The clinics are run at a local level and this works much better than organising everything centrally. For example, I do a course on a Tuesday evening and they’ve accommodated that into the rota pattern.

“This flexibility isn’t just something they talk about but don’t offer. They actually walk the walk which is fantastic. On top of all that the work is interesting, challenging and stimulating and the shifts allow you to enjoy a good work-life balance. What’s not to like?”

Learn more about Vets Now’s AdvantEdge programme.