Kate Ellen and Will Golding are both new graduate vets at LLM Derbyshire, who have already met many of you. They are 6 months into their new roles and would like to give everyone an update…

A few words from Kate:

The cheesy phrase, ‘choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’, certainly rings true so far. Six months into my first job as a farm vet and I feel very lucky. Being a vet is all I have ever wanted to do, however nine years of university study, countless exams and of course the financial expense left me feeling the pressure. Will I find the right job? Will I be any good at it? How will farmers take to a newbie? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? …. The answer to all those questions is simple – yes! I am loving being a farm vet and working in Derbyshire, where I have grown up!

The team at LLM have made me very welcome, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with, learn from and support me. I also must thank all the farmers I have met so far, whether that’s been on farm for routine visits and emergencies, at shows or Christmas drinks, you have reinforced why I want to do the job, helped teach me, shown patience, made me smile and laugh!
I’d like to share just a few moments that stand out for me. Firstly, the panic I felt when a farmer said ‘WRONG’ as I aged a cow in calf at 45 days, ‘2 days out, she’s 47 days!’, they said – I’ve learned to appreciate their sense of humour now.
Secondly, my first 2 calving calls were both rotten and came out in bits, not a trend I wanted to continue! I’ve since been told shaving foam can help draw the smell out of skin though, a tip I’ll be trying in the future?! Finally, one of my first solo out of hours calls was to a Friesian cow down with toxic mastitis, I gave her IV fluids and pumped her orally, (amongst other treatments), I was very pleased to hear she got up later that morning, I think the farmer was pleased too…however he did give all the credit to him putting her favourite tunes on the radio! I look forward to the next 6 months!

A few word from Will:

Qualifying as a veterinary surgeon in June 2023 was one of my proudest moments. It didn’t really sink in until we were swearing our oath and signing the register, and even then, there was a part of me that didn’t believe university was done and dusted. Our very own Charlie Mays was at mine and Kate’s graduation receiving an award. In the milling around afterwards, he said to my parents ‘don’t worry, we’ll look after them, you know!’.
I can confirm that he was right; my first six months in practice have been brilliant. The whole practice has made a great effort to make us feel part of the team, teach us, and yet give us enough freedom and independence. A special thanks must also be said to all the farmers who have trusted us with your stock – we couldn’t do what we’ve trained for without your cooperation and support.
You quickly collate a collection of highs and lows from your first few months in practice. A definite highlight was my first solo out of hours call: four weeks into the job I went to a flat-out milk fever… in a dark field… over an hour away from home! I hit the vein and got some calcium and Metacam into her, pumped her with some oral calcium, phosphorous, and glycol, and she was up within 15 minutes! A proper ‘out of the textbook’ case. I was high as a kite afterwards.
There is nothing like a calving to get the blood pumping as a new grad, especially out of hours. Performing my first caesarean section at 2.30am with Chantal; diagnosing a >360 degree uterine torsion and proceeding to caesarean; and performing my first foetotomy with a bit of trusty blue pipe as my embryotome are definitely among my favourite moments. Beyond emergency work, being trusted with routine fertility visits and getting to know farmers through regular time on farm has been extremely rewarding.
With the successes also come the blunders, though! Confessing to Gem and Andy that I had scraped my van in my first month on the job was far from ideal, as was mislaying a single pesky blood tube which meant a whole herd Johne’s test couldn’t be signed off as completed! Sometimes there is no clear right answer in farm vetting, and as a perfectionist (as most vets are) I have found this difficult. To quote my boss; “things are going to get grey, mate!”. The greyness adds to the challenge of the greatest job there is.