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Opinion: Is veterinary medicine a vocation?

The title question is one I have been asking myself since the beginning of my career in veterinary. I am quite a chatting person to say the least and always find myself quizzing vets and vet nurses when I’m in a new practice as to why they were drawn to this career. The long hours, poor professional recognition for some, awkward clients, Ireland’s limited opportunities, the risk of injuring; What is it that kept them going through their college years and is keeping them in veterinary today? Overwhelmingly the most common answer from veterinary practitioners is that it is something they’ve always wanted to do, since they were a child. For some, their parent or both parents may have been in the industry, which may fuel the desire to follow in a parents footsteps. For others it may be the challenge that comes with treating a patient that can’t actually tell you where the pain is. Then again some may have no reason behind choosing veterinary, just the simple fact that it’s all they’ve ever wanted. So yes, I think veterinary medicine is a vocation, it’s a calling.

It’s admirable and inspiring when you think about it. The hard grind through university to finish is not an easy one. For some it may possibly be the closes thing to hell, but the pure focus and determination an individual must have to complete it, is something wonderful. At some point during their studies, vet students come to realize actually how much work and dedication it takes to stay in this profession. Nonetheless they stay true to themselves and power through their exams, throwing themselves into the profession post-graduation bright eyed and bushy tailed. They become problem solvers for the rest of their professional lives.

With each new case, whether we like it or not the vet takes on two patients rather than one. Clients need to be educated as well as treating their animals. Forego the vet becomes an educator as well as a healer. All these additions to a career choice that was so simple when you were a child, but you do it anyway. You do it because it’s all you’ve ever wanted to do. It’s your vocation.

                What do you think? Is it a career people are called to, in some shape or form? Or am I just waffling! Let us know your opinion.


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