Phoebe Kindersley is a vet at Vets Now’s thriving Bristol clinic. She is living the vet life she always dreamed about, but says if it wasn’t for AdvantEdge she wouldn’t have made the switch to the exciting world of ECC.
So, being a vet was always your passion?
I decided I wanted to be a vet when I was about five and never grew out of it. I was that kid who read the James Herriot books from cover to cover and fell in love with it all. When I was 14, I went along to do a few weeks work experience at the friendly clinic my parents took our animals to. Thinking back the cases were very routine and basic, but it was mind blowing to me. I went on to get all my necessary grades and then went to Bristol Vet School, graduating in 2017.
What was your veterinary plan then?
Bristol had an ICU we could be in for a week of our final year, and off the back of that I went and did some work experience at the Gillingham Vets Now clinic. It was really exciting and definitely put ECC on my radar. I was so impressed by how confident the team were and how seamlessly they all worked together. Initially, though, I wanted to go into first opinion and started at a mixed practice in Taunton which then became solely small animal. I was there for three years but kept thinking about ECC.
And what brought you to Vets Now?
It was really through finding out about AdvantEdge. It was a world I wanted to get into, but I really don’t know that I would have made the jump otherwise. It offered a very clear, structured path into ECC without feeling you had to go and do a certificate first. It hit the sweet spot of being a massive push forward in my abilities but with the confidence I could do the job. The practice I worked at did their own OOH, so I’d had a taste of being in sole charge at the weekend. But I knew AdvantEdge would give me the knowledge to deal with cases I hadn’t experienced or had only seen once. The big one for me was a surgical GDV case, which I’d never encountered. That’s the one everyone worries about.
When did you start and how was it?
I did Edge in May 2022, we had two weeks of lectures and then an intense couple of days of surgical, ultrasound, bloods and other practical stuff. I learned an incredible amount. After the first couple of days, I was thinking it was like the best veterinary conference where every single lecture was so interesting. At the end of the third day, I was saying to my husband how I loved what I was learning – and by the fourth I thought my brain was full! It was just brilliant. Even when you thought you knew something, there would be some top tip you couldn’t believe you hadn’t tried. And things like the Point of Care Ultrasound was completely new to me.
And how has it helped?
Looking back on cases before and after the course, it was clear just how much I’d learned. There was one direct comparison where, while there was nothing wrong with what I did before, there were a lot of extra things I was able to add in.
So, there have been specific cases where you could see the benefits of AdvantEdge?
Definitely. With blood gases, for instance, I’m constantly in my learning notebook. I finally got to do a surgical GDV with a splenectomy and again it was straight to the playbook. I always have all the notes, but there have been so many times now when I no longer need to look. A lot of those things which are pretty routine now came from AdvantEdge.
But do you feel well supported?
I’m still learning a lot from my colleagues and our principal vet is brilliant at being there for guidance and ways of managing things. There are loads of CPD resources, there’s a chat group with the other vets on the Edge course and always someone in another clinic if you want to check something in the middle of the night.
Are you enjoying life at Vets Now?
I’m absolutely loving it. The work-life balance is so much better now although I’m working the same number of hours as my previous job. When I was working five days a week in first opinion, I was too tired to do anything in the evenings and then half of Saturday I’d be working and the other half recovering. I love being off during the week, too.
Finally, would you recommend AdvantEdge to other vets?
Without a doubt. I’d say that ECC is nowhere near as scary as you might think.
A lot of the cases we’re seeing are the same emergencies you’re seeing during the day and where there are more complicated cases, AdvantEdge sets you up to succeed.
Thinking about AdvantEdge?
Are you a qualified vet with three to five plus years’ experience? Making the move from day practice to Emergency Critical Care (ECC), AdvantEdge gives you all the confidence you need to thrive in an emergency setting.Learn more about Advantedge