A Veterinarian is a very popular and exciting career path, especially for those with a passion for animals. Samantha Tepley has been a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) since June 2018. She shares a little bit about what life is like as a veterinarian in Eastern Iowa.
What made you want to become a veterinarian?
I have always wanted to be in the medical field. As I had exposure to the veterinary field through my own pets I realized that being a veterinarian was the perfect combination of my love for the medical field and my passion for animals. After I started working in veterinary clinics during my summer vacations I knew it was the perfect fit for me.
What is a day in the life like for you?
I start seeing patients at 8:30 AM. After I have 2-3 appointments in the morning I perform any surgeries that were scheduled for that day, those can be anything from a spay/neuter to a mass removal to a dental procedure. After the surgeries are done I spend the rest of my day seeing patients. Some of them are sick and need to be seen because they aren’t feeling well and some of them come in for yearly wellness exams, vaccinations and testing. On the really exciting days I get to perform emergency surgery somewhere in the day. I stop seeing patients at 5:30 PM but I may be at the clinic later than that if I am tending to sick hospitalized or surgery patients or if I have to come in to see an emergency after hours.
What skills do you think that someone should possess to become a veterinarian?
Tenacity, compassion, patience, multitasking, time management, and communication
If you were talking to someone who wanted to be a veterinarian, what kinds of special training would tell him or her they need?
It is important to get as much exposure to the veterinary field as possible. When applying to veterinary school one of the big components of your application is your veterinary experience. Put yourself out there and take any opportunity that is offered to you to gain experience in the veterinary field. It may be a kennel job, job shadowing or even working as a veterinary assistant. Also, the broader the experience, the better. Get experience working with all types of animals and doing all sorts of animal related jobs but remember getting experience in a vet clinic is the most important because it will help you gain important medical knowledge.
What do you enjoy about being a veterinarian?
I enjoy having the ability to change an animal’s life by correctly diagnosing their illness/disease and helping their owner understand how to fix it. It is fun to be able to connect the gap between owners and their pets to help pets become happier, healthier and more comfortable which in turn makes their owners happy.
What are the challenges of your job that people wouldn’t expect?
- Finances are the biggest limiting factor in how much we can do for our patients.
- No matter how many patients you lose, it never gets any easier.
- The vet clinic is a very stressful place for many animals because it is so loud, it smells like other animals and its not their normal environment so many animals really don’t like coming to see us which is hard for vets because we don’t like to see our patients stressed out.
- Getting a veterinary degree is VERY expensive.
What would surprise someone to know about your job?
How we treat animals and how we treat people really isn’t all that different; we do many of the same things for animals that doctors do for people when they get hospitalized.
What advice do you have for aspiring veterinarians?
- It can be a long, difficult and tiring road to become a veterinarian but stay tough because it is worth it.
- Put the time and effort into your studies early (starting in high school and especially in college) because it will help you be ahead of the game in veterinary school and you will understand how to study right away in vet school which is important.
- Think about your finances early; veterinary school is expensive so it is important to do what you can to get scholarships and to plan how to pay off your student loans so that when it comes to that time you are ready and don’t have added stress.
- Start getting your animal/veterinary clinic experience as early as high school because it will make you a much more competitive candidate for veterinary school.
Find exciting roles for both companion and large animal veterinarians on AgCareers.com.
Guest Blog Post by Kate Boeckenstedt, AgCareers.com 2018 Marketing Intern