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STUDY ABROAD : Career Prospects - Must read

Five traits every veterinarian needs

There is more to becoming a successful veterinarian than simply studying for a degree. There are certain very important traits that you’ll need for success.

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When deciding on your potential course of study, it’s always a good idea to consider your desired career path at the same time. Studying for a degree in veterinary medicine is a significant commitment with the end aim of a rewarding career as a veterinarian. While having an affinity for the subject matter is important, you’ll also need to check whether you have some of the key traits that would make you suitable for the job. We’ve turned our lens on veterinary medicine and some of the key traits it’s important to have as an aspiring veterinarian.


An eye for detail 


Studying veterinary medicine and practising as a veterinarian requires an acute level of detail and the application of observational skills. You will need to be able to assess an animal using surveillance, examination and diagnostic tools. This is where detail becomes important when assessed in combination with your academic and clinical knowledge.


Being detail-oriented means you can pick up on the subtle signs that animals give such as fear, aggression, and pain. Not only does this allow you to make better clinical decisions but can be essential in averting potentially dangerous situations. By observing and interpreting the details of a case, it’s more likely that you can make an accurate diagnosis and select the correct course of action.


Discover what you can expect when studying for a degree in veterinary science.


Communication and social skills 


As a veterinarian, you will meet a wide variety of people and stakeholders during your work. From your clinical colleagues through to animal owners, having the ability to establish rapport and communicate effectively is very important. You may find yourself in pressurised or stressful situations that demand clear, concise, and accurate communication. People need to feel reassured and that an animal is in good hands.


Veterinary medicine can be technical. So, while you may intuitively understand what is causing a particular issue or illness because of your clinical knowledge, others may not. Thus, translating complex ideas in a way that non-veterinarians can interpret makes a difference. You should be able to do so both verbally and in writing. Doing so becomes particularly critical when communicating instructions for follow-up animal care and recovery programmes. Being friendly, approachable and communicative are coveted traits for veterinarians.


Find out about universities where you can study veterinary medicine in the UK.


In-depth subject knowledge


There’s no escaping it. To be a veterinarian you need to have an excellent understanding of the subject and be prepared to develop your knowledge. Veterinary science is not a static field and the advance of technology means the advantage of better diagnostics and treatment. This is also one of the reasons why in most veterinary medicine courses at university you’ll have a professional placement element as part of your degree.


One of the challenges of being a veterinarian is the ability to work with large amounts of information and synthesise this both quickly and accurately while applying your knowledge. Problem-solving is part of the package. Understanding the connection between multiple elements and variables is paramount when working out the relationship between symptoms and cause. Technical knowledge is also crucial, as you’ll need to use machinery and equipment to aid your work.


Explore universities in Australia offering veterinary medicine programmes and degrees.


Clinical skills


Veterinary medicine requires a multifaceted set of competencies. Clinical skills are a core aspect of this. As a veterinarian, you will conduct examinations on animals of all sizes, use scientific equipment, undertake emergency treatment, and conduct surgical and non-surgical procedures. This requires both knowledge and a skilful approach.


Veterinarians train to approach animals with care and in a gentle manner. Making sure that both the animal and owner are comfortable before doing clinical work is key. If everyone is at ease and calm it can make even the most stressful situation easier. You must be confident in your abilities to act swiftly and do what is necessary while drawing on your training. For example, this can be as simple as knowing where to place an injection. 


Are you interested in studying veterinary medicine in Canada?


Empathy is essential


We saved the most important for last. While you can have all the best scientific and technical knowledge required, if you are to become a good veterinarian this needs to be combined with empathy. Having a genuine love for animals is fundamental. When we say animals, we don’t just mean fluffy kittens. Animals are not always cute and cuddly, so you have to be prepared for some tricky situations. Putting yourself in the shoes of the animal and acting with kindness is paramount.


You must also be able to be empathetic with animal owners. Sometimes veterinary treatment can be distressing or worrying for owners. Building a relationship of trust based on empathy is ideal. This approach can have a positive effect on your general work environment, improving relationships and treatment outcomes. Never underestimate the significance of a kind word or a reassuring smile.


That’s our quick take on what it takes to be a veterinarian. Maybe it has confirmed your suitability, or perhaps you’d like to continue researching your options. We can help with how to map your study and career goalswhat education counsellors offer and some key skills employers look for.


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