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Experienced veterinary surgeon Kari crosses the pond to seize training opportunity

Kari Kobus, 52, is a shining example of someone determined to make the most of her potential.

She left the comfort zone of her home and job in the US to join Vets Now and embark on our AdvantEdge programme.

It’s a fast-track induction aimed at clinicians, like Kari, who already have a solid foundation of small animal or mixed practice experience but want an accelerated route into emergency and critical care.

Kari applied for a position on the programme because she wanted to try out a different culture and learn new skills.

Now she’s determined to make the most of her decision in her new role as an emergency vet.

In this Q&A, Kari, who lives in Telford, Shropshire, and has two grown-up children as well as a German Shepherd called Lika, gives us the lowdown on her career and why she chose to move to the UK to work in emergency and critical care.

Image of AdvantEdge vet Kari KobusWhat’s your background?

I graduated from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Before joining Vets Now, I’d been in day practice for 18 years, the last nine years of which I worked in a walk-in clinic in a city near Chicago, Illinois. At that practice, I saw both cats and dogs on daytime preventative care and emergency care situations. I did surgeries, ultrasound, emergency work and just general day practice.

Why Vets Now?

I wanted to move to the UK and Vets Now offered the best opportunities to enhance my career, personal development and education. I also liked the culture and the fact Vets Now looks at the individual and how we can improve ourselves, improve our practice, and bring our talents into the business.

Did anything else have a bearing on your decision?

I was really impressed by the interview process. It convinced me to stop looking for work elsewhere. It was very thorough, and the interviewers asked all the right questions, they didn’t make me feel self-conscious. It was clear they knew what they were looking for.

Is this your first time working outside of the US?

Yes, and it’s a big life change for me. There is a different culture between the US and the UK. I’m finding it both rewarding and challenging, but it’s a challenge I’m going to overcome.

What attracted you to AdvantEdge?

The great learning opportunities. I want to adapt to the UK culture, and this business model, and I felt signing up for AdvantEdge would help me achieve that. I was also keen to network and meet more vets in a similar situation.

Have you achieved those aims?

I’m definitely a better vet as a result of this experience. I’ve networked, and I’ve seen that other vets are in the same situation as me in terms of the learning curve. I’ve also met other vets from outside the UK. I’ve learned new communication techniques, I’ve made friends, and I’ve essentially relearned everything that I was taught in vet school.

What were those learnings?

We learned about a range of topics on AdvantEdge from how to stabilise emergency patients to how to communicate effectively with the clients. We also went through several emergency concepts such as fluid therapy and respiratory therapy, and we looked at issues like acid based status which is a complicated way to look at how the body is working and how everything is interacting.

What did you enjoy most about the programme?

Working on case studies. We were able to see that there’s more than one way to handle some critical cases. We also learned that making mistakes can happen and that the key is to learn from those and go forward from there. I also enjoyed meeting the instructors and the other vets. I really liked the small class size because it allowed plenty one-on-one interaction. It was really nice not being in a large class situation where the instructors are way at the front and don’t seem like real humans.

Would you recommend AdvantEdge to others?

Yes, I’d recommend it to all vets because it brushed up our education, reminded us about all the things from vet school we hadn’t used, and allowed us to see there are other vets in the same situation we’re in.

Why do you want to work in emergency and critical care?

I work best under pressure and I enjoy the challenge of handling critical care cases out of hours.

How do you see yourself progressing in the next five years?

Now that I’ve done AdvantEdge, I can see myself becoming more integral in the clinic I’m working in and possibly working towards a management position.