Veterinary surgeon Albert Hutu’s journey into ECC had a few twists and turns along the way. From his studies in Romania to starting day practice in Belfast, then locuming at Vets Now before becoming a permanent vet at our Belfast clinic, Albert says he has found the professional satisfaction he had been looking for.

To further build his confidence in ECC, Albert took part in our AdvantEdge programme, a two-week intensive course aimed at experienced vets looking to enhance their knowledge in emergency and critical care. Here, Albert explains the positive impact AdvantEdge continues to have on his career.

Tell us about your career so far

I graduated in Romania in 2019 and moved to Belfast, where I started my career as a small animal vet in a first opinion practice. During the Covid pandemic, I discovered a passion for surgery, which greatly impacted my career. Then, by 2023, I felt like I was hitting a wall, stagnating and confused about what I wanted from my career next. That’s when I decided to do a few locum shifts at Vets Now Belfast, where I became a permanent part of the team.

What led you to become a vet?

Growing up, I never had any companion animals, but I was always fascinated by animals. My grandparents had every farm animal you can think of, from cattle to geese — and my favourite, guinea fowl. My fascination with all these creatures sparked my interest in studying them (although, after graduating, I was drawn to small animal practice).

When did you develop an interest in emergency and critical care?

I had heard that night shifts in ECC were challenging, and I wanted to see if the rumours were true. So, I did a few shifts and really enjoyed it. I knew then that ECC was where I wanted to be. I finally felt the sense of satisfaction I had been seeking in my career.

Vets Now AdvantEdge recruit Albert Hutu attending to a dog

We have an online chat group where we ask each other for advice and help with different issues. It's very handy when you have a question at 4 a.m. during a shift, and you can speak to other people in different clinics doing the same thing. 

Albert Hutu


What encouraged you to take part in our AdvantEdge programme?

One of the veterinary surgeons in the Belfast clinic told me about AdvantEdge when I started my permanent role at Vets Now. It sounded perfect for me: two weeks of learning and developing skills in ECC, meeting certificate holders, specialists, and diplomates, meeting colleagues from all over the UK, and sharing experiences and life stories (not to mention the post-seminar socials).

The AdvantEdge program is a mixture of in-person and online learning. What sessions did you find most useful?

If I had to choose, the in-person sessions were my favourite, but I found both formats very useful. It’s amazing the amount of information you take back to work with.

Peer support is an important part of the program. Do you keep in touch with your AdvantEdge cohort?

Through AdvantEdge, I met amazing and interesting people. We have an online chat group where we ask each other for advice and help with different issues. It’s very handy when you have a question at 4 a.m. during a shift, and you can speak to other people in different clinics doing the same thing.

How have you settled into your clinic?

I’ve settled in well, and AdvantEdge has helped a lot with that. I felt much more confident after completing the program. There’s a big difference between my ability in handling cases and my knowledge before and after AdvantEdge. It has definitely built my confidence.

The Belfast team helped me settle in quickly, too. What a great team they are.

Tell us about an interesting case you have managed over the past few months.

Every case is interesting, as you don’t know what is going to come through the door. I think the most satisfying cases are the ones where you can apply procedures that you’ve never thought of before. An example would be a cat with a fractured pelvis in which analgesia was provided by a constant-rate infusion. It’s a simple procedure but exciting if you’ve never done it in the past, especially for someone like me who started their journey with Vets Now recently.

Vets Now AdvantEdge recruit Albert Hutu holding a dog

Working nights is challenging, more so than daily practice, in my experience. But people are there for you at Vets Now. It sounds a bit cliche, but it's true, you really do get the support you need if you ask for it. 

Albert Hutu


What do you enjoy most about your role?

The fact that after every single shift, I go home with something new added to my knowledge.

And how are you finding adjusting to night work and work-life balance?

Working nights isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have a big impact on my life. I think it’s a matter of managing your time in advance. It’s important to “leave work at work.” Night work can be stressful, and taking that stress home can affect your private life. I try to disconnect when my work shift is over, focus on good sleep quality, healthy meals, supplements, gym/sports, and socialising as much as possible, which helps a lot.

Would you recommend AdvantEdge to other vets interested in emergency practice?

I really would. You gain so much knowledge in ECC, meet great people, and share different ideas and experiences. You get an idea of how other Vets Now colleagues handle cases and what it’s like for colleagues working in other practices around the UK. And it contributes to CPD hours. If you want to boost your confidence in ECC, then absolutely look into AdvantEdge.

If you had to pick one main takeaway message from the training, what would that be?

Never be afraid or too stubborn to ask for help. Working nights is challenging, more so than daily practice, in my experience. But people are there for you at Vets Now. It sounds a bit cliche, but it’s true, you really do get the support you need if you ask for it.