What do vets do all day…. Apart from cuddle puppies and kittens? That would be a dream day for us to be able to meet and great puppies and kittens for 10 hours. However there is a lot more that fills our days. Days in June 2020 may look slightly different than they did a year ago, with no clients allowed into our buildings currently and vets/ nurses going to collect our patients from the car parks at a social distance. The change in human contact is a big part of our day that we never knew we automatically engaged in until it has been taken away.
Our day typically starts about 8am getting to our respective branches and setting up for the day. We may have to reassess inpatients or help prepare for the first patients being admitted for operations. There is always the odd emergency that may turn up first thing. The veterinary profession generally attracts people who are highly motivated, organised, dedicated and team players. These are all key skills to be able to get you through the day.
Being someone who enjoys organising and a label printer, I always find myself wondering how my brain copes with not knowing what I will be doing from day to day. Often friends and family will ask what you are going to see today? The truth is you can’t predict when animals will get sick and need you. There are a few surgeries often booked in which are routines (speaking pre COVID-19). Apart from that you have to be ready with your team to see what ever the day throws at you. This could be poorly puppies with broken legs, to cats which have been vomiting for the last few days to dogs which have helped themselves to the owners latest baking achievements which contains raisins.
After a morning seeing patients we often then put our surgeon hat on and organise the surgeries which are needed to be completed. This takes us to “lunch” time. Which is a very loose term as a vet and nurse, this happens if it can, but often lunches are spent inhaling whatever we can to provide sufficient energy until the end of the day, often taking bites between phone calls to owners about lab results or about insurance queries, to name a few topics.
Our appointments continue into the afternoon, at the moment this includes urgent and emergency cases along with cases in line with the BVA and RCVS guidance. The current pandemic has thrown an extra layer of complexity into our days figuring out seeing cases virtually over Facetime or triaging them as best we can.
By the time 5pm arrives we are starting to discharge our cases which have spent the day with us for respective surgeries, followed by more consults if patients need to be seen. Our phones go over between 5-7pm to our main branch at Bury St Edmunds (times are varying currently due to working with skeleton staff during the pandemic). For some of our vets the days don’t stop there, new teams start their working day and continue to look after our patients into the night.
Being a night vet brings with it a whole new set of challenges, navigating clients to the practice in the early hours of the morning often trying to keep them calm during emergencies with their pets. Keeping a calm and collected head at 4am performing surgeries and ensuring all the patients get the TLC they need. A night vet requires a very different set of skills from a day vet i.e. being able to catch up on sleep during the day time!
This blog article is to give an idea of what happens behind the scenes – as vets we love what we do, we adore our patients and their owners, but there are tough days. We always ask you to be patient with us if you don’t get an instant phone call back or reply to an email we are often busy seeing patients especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic when there are fewer available staff members.
If you have any questions or concerns please do always phone your closest Swaynes branch.