Residency insights: Victoria reveals the best parts about being a resident with Pride Veterinary Referrals

We caught up with Victoria Roberts, a resident in small animal surgery to find out more about her experiences during her residency at Pride Veterinary Referrals and her advice and tips for those considering a residency.

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What attracted you to apply for a residency at Pride Veterinary Referrals?

The surgery referrals world is a small one and whilst I had not visited Pride Veterinary Referrals myself (due to lockdown restrictions at the time), a very trusted colleague recommended the position both for the teaching programme and the experienced, supportive, surgical team. I was apprehensive when applying but since joining, I have not looked back.

How did the rotating internship you completed at the Royal Veterinary College help to decide on your next step?

 I undertook a rotating internship at the Royal Veterinary College between 2018 – 2019, this was my first real foray into the world of veterinary referrals. I thrived within the collaborative, learning environment and took my first step into the world of veterinary research. I developed transferable skills including independent learning, time management, prioritisation, and an ability to cope well under pressure. Each rotation brought me to the point where my enthusiasm for surgery was supported by excellent communication skills, sound breadth of knowledge, an array of skills, significant case experience and the confidence to make sound logical clinical decisions. Upon completion of this internship, I felt certain of my career aspirations and was well-prepared for the challenges I knew a surgical residency would bring.

What made you decide to pursue a residency in surgery?

Since graduating from the University of Bristol in 2014, I have always had a passion for surgery due to the ability, with a single procedure, to significantly enhance the health and welfare of the patients under my care. I have always been highly motivated and driven so, as I became increasingly aware of my desire to push myself as a surgeon, I began to look for ways to further my surgical skills, knowledge and experience. An ECVS Residency offered me an unrivalled opportunity to learn first-hand to a very high standard my chosen field, not just how to perform a surgical procedure, but critically the pre and post-operative management of highly varied and complex cases.

Can you tell us more about being a resident at Pride Veterinary Referrals? 

Within the surgical team at Pride Veterinary Referrals, there is a strong emphasis on the support and development of all members of the team. This means that as the surgical interns progress through their one-year position with us, they are gradually given more responsibility and begin to take on more of their own cases, under the supervision of a senior specialist. This meant that, whilst the residents ultimately have more case responsibility and take on out-of-hours duties, the transition from intern to resident was a relatively smooth one for me.

What specifically about doing a residency at Pride Veterinary Referrals have you found beneficial?

 Undertaking an ECVS residency is a significant commitment, the hours are long and the learning curve is steep. However, the rewards in terms of expanding your skills, knowledge and experience are unrivalled. The surgery team at Pride Veterinary Referrals is committed to enhancing this development process for all the residents who go through the programme, via a weekly journal club, weekly book club, imaging rounds and study leave (12 weeks per year). In addition to the teaching programme, the atmosphere is friendly, open and incredibly supportive, all the way through the team.

How have Pride Veterinary Referrals supported you throughout your residency?

Expectations in the surgery team are high because we are all passionate about the care and outcomes for our patients. However, support has always been there whenever I have needed it, whether professionally or personally, from the nurses, seniors, interns, and my co-residents.

What are your plans for the future?

With just under 5 months to go I am looking towards completion of my residency and am excited to find a staff clinician position where I can continue to grow and prepare for my ECVS exams in February 2025. I am also looking forward to expanding my career with continued research, teaching, provision of CPD and more.

Do you have any advice for those considering a residency?

A residency is not for everyone, so think long and hard about whether it is the right choice for you. If you decide that it is, then go for it, and don’t take no for an answer. If you are determined enough then you will get there and it has the potential to open up many exciting career paths for you.

Can you tell us about your experiences with mentorship at Pride Veterinary Referrals?

The beauty of being a resident at Pride Veterinary Referrals is that you work with every senior on rotation, which in a way means that every senior in the surgery team acts as your mentor throughout the programme. This gives you the chance to observe and learn first-hand from a variety of personalities with different experiences, giving you the exposure and freedom to formulate your approach and opinions.

How do you unwind after work?

Days in clinic can be long and tiring. Once all the clinical work is done and the referral reports are written there is usually a journal club article or book chapter to read. It is really important to set out a schedule that works for you and to put some boundaries in place. I am fortunate enough to have a very supportive husband and ever-faithful rescue staffie to welcome me home. I have also taken up knitting during my residency which I find very relaxing, and am gradually making my way through knitting things for my long list of nieces and nephews.
 Learn more about IVC Evidensia Referrals internship and residency opportunities.