Experienced Spanish vet says the UK is the best place to develop your career
The prospect of having an exciting career in a country renowned for its high veterinary standards, while also maintaining roots in your home country, might sound too good to be true.
But it’s the reality for many of the vets and vet nurses who have come to Vets Now from countries in Europe.
When we ask our people what they love most about their role at Vets Now, they often mention the freedom and flexibility the job offers them – where fast-paced, fulfilling work is combined with an emphasis on enjoying life away from work too.
This work-life balance lets our people thrive professionally and make the most of life outside of the clinic. For those who have come to the UK from abroad, it gives them the chance to make frequent trips back home.
And this hasn’t changed now that the UK has left the EU as we will continue to welcome and support vets and vet nurses from abroad who want to join us.
Laura Gallego Canabal knows exactly what it’s like to make the move to the UK to join our team. She left her native Spain in 2017 to join our Cutting Edge induction programme before taking on a vet surgeon role in our Tunbridge Wells clinic.
She says it was one of the best decisions she has ever made for her and her family.
“Vets Now has been supporting me since the minute I decided I wanted to move to the UK,” Laura said.
“I’d made the difficult decision to leave my family and partner behind in Spain to live in the UK and I was surprised when I realised I was able to spend more quality time with my relatives in Spain while living in the UK than when I was working there.
“Vets Now’s shift patterns let me travel and coordinate my work as a vet with my husband’s work as a policeman in Spain. We both work out-of-hours and manage to have a lot of spare time to share with our family.
“I have more free time than I ever did working full time in Spain and that wouldn’t be possible without Vets Now.”
Originally from Galicia in Northwest Spain, Laura qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the University of Santiago de Compostela in 2013 before completing a rotating small animal internship at the university’s small animal veterinary hospital.
She then took on the role of veterinary coordinator at an animal protection centre near Madrid before returning to work at her university hospital’s emergency out-of-hours service.
After gaining extensive and varied experience, she was ready to take the next step in her career, but it became clear that in order to reach her full potential she might have to move elsewhere.
“Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to be a veterinary surgeon in Spain while continuing your CPD and spending quality time with your family”, Laura explained.
“One of my favourite teachers from university, Danny, told me that if I really wanted to grow as a vet and continue my learning pathway, the UK was the place to go.
“Several friends from my internship already worked for Vets Now and I knew I really wanted to be an emergency vet to help people and their pets when they needed us the most.
“So, I joined Cutting Edge in January 2017 and I’ve been working for Vets Now ever since.”
After joining the Tunbridge Wells clinic Laura really began to see the benefits of managing a challenging caseload and working with a supportive team:
“I think working for Vets Now is fascinating, every day is different,” she explained.
“As an emergency vet you see lots of different cases, from internal medicine to surgery.
“It really builds your confidence and helps you grow as a vet.
“The staff and clinic members are amazing too and the friends I’ve made have become like family to me.”
Laura Gallego Canabal Veterinary surgeon, Tunbridge Wells
“I have more free time than I ever did working full time in Spain and that wouldn't be possible without Vets Now.”
Splitting time between the UK and Spain worked well for Laura for several years, but as her personal circumstances have changed, her job has adapted to fit around her commitments.
“I became pregnant in 2019 and decided to go back to Spain for a while to take care of my daughter, but I didn’t want to leave my career behind.
“Vets Now has always supported me and made things really easy for me to work in the UK but live in Spain.
“They adapt my shift patterns so I can continue working as an emergency vet in Tunbridge Wells.
“That way I can be there to see my baby grow up while never giving up on my professional passion.
“I’m now a working mum of a lovely toddler and expecting another baby. I’m so happy to say I’m able to spend time with my family but continue my career with Vets Now.”
Despite currently residing full time in Spain due to family commitments and Covid-19 restrictions, Laura has continued her work at Vets Now, taking on a role as an online vet on our online consultation service.
“I joined Video Vets Now in 2020 just before Covid-19 hit us and the work is amazing.
“I can help owners from home, knowing that they will get the best level of care if they need to go to one of our clinics.”
Looking to the future, Laura is sure that she will remain with Vets Now and continue her development.
“CPD is really important to me as it allows me to continue my learning pathway”, she said.
“My ambition is to continue learning with Vets Now. I would love to do a certificate in emergency and critical care or ultrasound.”
And to any vets who are considering moving to the UK, Laura hopes her experience can offer some encouragement, as she explained: “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Vets Now to a friend. It has changed my life and I couldn’t be happier.”
Are you a vet or vet nurse from the EU and you would like to follow in Laura’s footsteps? Find out how we can support you here.