It is no secret that different professions require different levels of commitment. Some of us work 9 to 5 every day of the week, with weekends off. Some people may have jobs that start at 2 in the morning and end at 10 AM for four days a week. Some of us may have to work two jobs just to make ends meet, leaving little time for family and other activities. For those of us in the human and veterinary medical professions, we know that the hours are long and the night shifts can be frequent.
This commitment is not one to be taken lightly. It is truly a life commitment. I will speak only to my own experiences and how those have shaped my perception of my commitment to veterinary medicine.
Overnight shifts have become a daily routine for me. It took a little less than a year, starting in 2013, to really figure out how to handle overnight shifts and manage to not miss out on too many day activities with my family and friends. It also took some fine tuning to figure out how much coffee results in good, sustainable energy and how much results in eventual exhaustion. When I first started doing overnight shifts, my running schedule disintegrated into nothing. My body was exhausted, and I had not figured out how to properly sleep the following day or before the shift. Now, I keep track of my sleep hours and the hours needed for physical recovery after a night of working with large animals.
I have also become accustomed to being away from my family during holidays or school breaks. This is never an easy thing to do, but it is an inherent part of our profession. When animals get sick, we are the ones who will be there to treat them and take care of them. It is perhaps the most basic element of our jobs. Since I have been away from home so much, I have learned to treasure those few moments that I do have with family members. I also know that once I return home to Maine after school, seeing family will be much easier since I will not be 9 hours away!
The good part is that my colleagues and I are the best ones to be taking care of these animals when times are tough. We have committed our lives to the veterinary profession. We love our pets and we love meeting the animals that you spend your lives with. We love meeting clients and hearing how much your animal makes your life better.