Orchard House Veterinary Centre

Jill Crawford career advice

Why did you want to become a Veterinary Surgeon?
I was a ‘horsey’ girl, and wanted to become an equine vet. My careers advisor ( this was in the 1970’s), told me that would not be an option as only men could be horse vets. Undeterred, I applied and was accepted to Glasgow University, however during the 5 year course, my horizons broadened and after graduation I started work in a ‘small animal’ practice, although at that stage I still yearned to work with farm animals. I loved science, and the outdoors and it seemed a perfect way to combine the two. Nowadays, I get my equine ‘fix’ from my own pony. So there was a difference between what I set out to do, and what I actually did, and I am glad there was.

If someone said to you that they wanted to be a vet, what advice would you give?
I enjoy my job, it can be challenging, it is rewarding, it can be stressful , it’s varied. There are many options with a veterinary degree, with careers in academia, or industry as well as many options for clinical work from being a ‘GP’ vet ( which is what I am) to a specialist. And gender based discrimination is illegal now! So my advice is take a really good look at the reality of the work, the demands and costs of the long course ( you’ll still be sitting exams when your school friends are working) , and if it is what YOU want to do, go for it, but don’t do it to please your teachers, or anyone else because they won’t be there when its 3AM and your phone is ringing with an emergency.

What is the best thing about being a Veterinary Surgeon?
For me, being able to use my skill and compassion to help people and their pets e.g. meeting a ‘patient’ when I’m out walking my own dog in the woods, and seeing them fit, well and enjoying life and also working with a great team of people who I rely on every day. I enjoy the buzz from solving a problem, and ‘fixing’ it, and also being part of our community of people who care about their animals. Even though its many years since I graduated, I am still learning, and I enjoy that too.