Being on call is my least favorite part of fourth-year. I am constantly worried about when I will get called in, where I will be when it happens, and what activity it might interrupt. Because of this, I hardly ever go to do anything in town when I’m on call. While it may be a little irrational to worry so much, I have learned to cope knowing that on call will be a thing of my past once I graduate!
I have found a job that does not require such intense attention to emergency care after hours, and for that I am grateful. I will be close to an emergency clinic if any patients need after-hours care, and I will certainly see emergencies that come in during the day, but my life will not be planned around whether something might, maybe, who knows when will come into the hospital.
The important thing about this for me is that, with a better quality of life for myself (not to disparage anyone in emergency medicine–you guys are superheroes!), I can practice better medicine for my patients. I have learned that an emergency or on-call schedule is not for me and that this is perfectly ok!
There are so many options available to new graduates, and it is important to find somewhere that meshes well with your skill set, but also with the things you know you would struggle with long term. For me, that meant finding a place that has more normal work hours and a few days off every now and then. It is so worth it to leave this stressful part of vet school behind and not allow it to follow me into my career and the rest of my life! Everyone is different, and that’s why veterinary medicine is such a cool profession! There are opportunities for every type of person (even the ones who love on call!) to find the place where they best fit.