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‘Challenges and adventures’: a young vet’s story so far

08 Nov 2022 | Hannah Hunt

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In this new blog, mixed animal vet and finalist Hannah Hunt shares how she felt about being nominated for and being named a finalist in BVA Young Vet of the Year Award 2022.

‘Challenges and adventures’: a young vet’s story so far Image

My name is Hannah, and I am a mixed vet in Aberystwyth, rural west Wales. I cover all aspects of mixed work, from scanning block-calving dairy herds, to surviving lambing seasons, to equine lameness workups, and small animal consults and surgeries. I am part of the mixed veterinary out of hours team, and I have recently enrolled on a small animal surgical certificate.

New experiences

Three years ago, I took a six-month sabbatical to embark on an adventure in New Zealand. There I worked as a predominantly dairy vet with some mixed vet placements thrown in. This afforded me the chance to hone new skills, experience the deer farming industry, and to also gain a better understanding of different production systems. This knowledge I was able to use and incorporate into herd health management when I returned to Wales.

Proud to be part of the profession

Being nominated was, as probably for others, a truly humbling experience. But it has also provided a sense of validation; for a job well done, for competence, for diligence, for a commendable work ethic, for being a team player, for the late nights and early mornings, for the extracurricular. This job has posed many challenges and adventures over the past year in our post-Covid world. Where, after navigating telemedicine, social distancing, and the carousel of colleagues self-isolating, life has now been presented at an increasingly accelerated pace. In this environment, being the characteristically competitive perfectionist to which this profession seems to appeal, it sometimes feels hard to shake the imposter syndrome. However, this nomination and shortlisting have provided such a shaking, for which I am so grateful. I am proud to be part of this profession and want others to see its value in society, in people’s homes, on their farms and in their yards.

In the last year this profession has allowed me a broader scope of exciting and diverse opportunities, including lecturing in the new Aberystwyth Vet school, being let loose on national radio with a vet advice hour and appearing on children’s tv to promote the ‘big animal vet’ scene.

A privilege with exciting challenges

Being a young vet can be a daunting place, finding your feet whilst trying to simultaneously project competence and not let anyone see that you feel like you are floundering in the mists of uncertainty. Maybe that feeling never leaves us, maybe we are our worst critics, but we have got this, we have worth, and we have a lot to offer. So, to other young vets like me, I say persevere and remind yourself to enjoy it. It’s a decidedly unglamorous job with largely socially unacceptable stories but, in my opinion, it is a privilege with exciting challenges, and those stories are often hilarious.

Young Vet of the Year Award 2022

Hannah Hunt has been shortlisted for the prestigious Young Vet of the Year Award, which is supported by Zoetis. The award recognises and celebrates the work, commitment and innovation of vets in the early stages of their career. The winner will be announced at BVA’s Gala Dinner at London Vet Show on Thursday 17 November at Excel London. See Hannah's reaction to being announced as a finalist:

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