Name: Joshua Gardner

Qualifications: BVSc (hons)

Position/Job?: Starting as an intern at VSS in 2015

What does winning the VetPrac Prize mean to you?

I’m very honoured to have been awarded the Vetprac prize for diagnostic imaging, and to be given an award in an area, which I’m interested in, is highly gratifying. It validates the hard work you put into your studies and the prize allows to me continue to learn and better my skills so I can be the best veterinarian that I can be.

Tell us about your experiences during your placements

5th year placements mark an abrupt change from highly theoretical learning to practical and application of what you had learned to the real world. Therefore it’s a huge learning curve, and I learnt that there are certain realities in the veterinary industry; 90% of the time regular vets are working with financial constraints and it can be hard to uphold your responsibility to all stakeholders including the owner, animals and your professional moral/ethical beliefs. Also vets do a crap tone of paperwork!  However despite the long days and hours of study after coming home in various animal bodily fluids, I think placements showed me that I was definitely in the right profession for me. I’d like to thank all the vets who take on students for placements – we really do appreciate the time, effort and resources you spend on us!

What are the challenges a vet student faces on a daily basis?

I think vet students have a lot of pressures on them – pressure of wanting to do well at your studies (since most are type A personality) and outside pressures (friends/family, social, financial) can be overwhelming. Given the large amount of knowledge you need to know and the need for you to be able to integrate, analyse and apply this in a clinical setting can be very difficult. In addition there can be insidious issues such as ethical dilemmas and compassion fatigue

What challenges do you anticipate as a new graduate and how do you hope to manage them?

For me the greatest worry is coping with the large amount of responsibility a veterinarian has, and now that I’ve graduated I feel like I should know the answer to every question and be able to deal with any situation. I know that this is impractical, and therefore I need to ensure that I maintain a support network with my colleagues and the senior veterinarians I’ll be working with so that I can ask questions build my knowledge and continue to learn.

Do you have an exam tips you could share with vet students?

I think everyone learns in different ways and styles so it’s hard to give specific exam tips. Personally, I tried to understand general principles and use that information to work out problems rather than wrote learn everything. Otherwise, don’t leave it to the last minute and you’ll be fine!

How do you cope with stress?

Venting to friends and family is probably my main method, a quick 5-minute whine to my housemates or family over the phone: without a great support network I wouldn’t have survived vet school! Try to keep healthy: exercise, enough sleep, somewhat healthy food and regular breaks. I also procrastinate on Facebook a lot during exams, which is probably not advisable!!

What do you like to do for fun?

I try to maintain a social life outside of vet, as I think balance is important! I try to get out and about, hiking and visiting places I’ve never been.