Carl’s top tips for new graduates

10 October 2023


Starting a new role in the veterinary sector can be exciting, but equally daunting, particularly when you are a new graduate. You’ve done the years of training, graduated, and are raring to go! We spoke to BSAVA President, Carl Gorman, to find out what his top tips are for new graduates.

Have confidence in yourself

We’ve all been there, walking into somewhere new on your first day. “We need you to be confident and to enjoy your start in practice life” says Carl. “We find that many new graduates have self-doubt and imposter syndrome, but really you are very well qualified and capable to do the role”.

More importantly, never be afraid to ask for help if you are concerned! “Ask your senior colleagues for help, I like my new grads to ask me questions all the time, whenever it’s needed. Even as long and experienced vets, we all still have to ask our colleagues for help and a second opinion, so never be afraid to ask.”

Make a fuss of your patients

“I often will greet the patients before the clients. You will find that clients will trust and understand your passion for the job if you show that you are genuinely interested in their animals, and that goes a long way to creating a good relationship”.

Look after yourself

When starting out in practice, you need to look after yourself in your own personal and professional development. Resources such as the BSAVA’s Graduate Resource Hub will include non-clinical topics such as support for stress management, personal development, work-life integration, and things like client mediation, how to work in a team, and guidance what to do if you make a mistake.

Make friends with the nurses

The nurses in your new practice will know all the practice procedures and protocols and will be gentle guides for you. As Carl says, “They will help you if you are straying from the straight and narrow and will nudge you back into the right path”.

He continued, “We work really hard to support and integrate new students when they come into the practice, like many practices do, however we can only see a limited number of cases or scenarios, so by accessing tools like the Graduate Resource Hub, you’ll have access to a whole range of different consultations and case examples”.

Enjoy your job!

“Please enjoy your job – you’ve worked very hard to get this far, and I understand there are a lot of stresses, concerns, and nervousness about starting out on your own. But you’re not on your own, you will have a lot of support. It’s a fantastic job and if you approach it with confidence and the ability to enjoy it, you will have a long and satisfactory career in the profession”.