Veterinarian Job Description:
Because I am a practice owner, I have a number of administrative and supervisory duties in addition to medical practice. To be prepared for medical practice, I read 6 medical journals regularly and participate in an online forum with other veterinarians. I also go to two regular meetings out of town and attend semi-regular continuing education lectures locally.
Inside the office, my schedule includes examining in-patients/hospitalized patients (making notes on their progress and updating their treatment plans), receiving out-patients (interviewing owners, examining pets, making up treatment and diagnostic plans), performing surgery, supervising procedures and making telephone calls.
I also review all the charts seen by myself as well as my associated and technical staff to schedule follow-ups on a master calendar and check for any mistakes in entering charges. Every week, I take inventory of hospital supplies and order supplies. I also have to manage the staff and assign them to specific duties and assist with their training.
What are the requirements to become a veterinarian?
Becoming a veterinarian requires being highly familiar with a successful application for veterinary school. Veterinary schools want to see that they are accepting people who know what they are getting into, so they require extensive experience working with veterinarians and with animals. They are also very strict about applicants having high grade point averages.
They also expect an articulate essay showing insight into this profession. I personally worked in 2 different small animal hospitals (after college, to insure that my application would have adequate experience), a ranch of exotic animals and in several research laboratories (including my own). I saw to it that I had a very high grade point average and more than satisfied the admission requirements. I had decided I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was in elementary school and spent the next ten years or so preparing.
During your veterinary career, have you ever been bitten by a patient?
A very aggressive cat was biting my technician. While rescuing her, the cat reattached herself onto my hands. Both the technician and I were badly bitten. Proper safety training minimizes potential for injury (though many years of experience in reading an animal's body language also helps).
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a veterinary career?
Be sure it is really what you want because it is a large commitment and not everyone has the "right stuff." This is the kind of job that requires work at home and on one's own time.
What is the average salary of a veterinarian?
The average salary of a veterinarian is heavily dependent on the branch of practice. Even in private practice it depends if one is a specialist, an associate, the owner, or how much experience one has. One of the most important factors in determining the average salary of a veterinarian in private practice is one's revenue production. The bigger an asset that one is to a practice, the better one's veterinarian salary will be; this is also highly regional.
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