How I Got My Job: Vet Jackie Layng

"It's worth getting a broad experience before deciding which path to venture down."

When you’re in school, it’s super hard to have to decide on your future career. There’s already hours of homework and study, now you’ll soon add decisions about college courses to your list. Here at KISS, we’re chatting to people in different industries about how they’ve landed their dream role, what they actually do and their advice to you. This week, we’re chatting to Jackie Layng, who is a veterinary surgeon at Village Vets.

What is your current role?

Senior veterinary surgeon with Village Vets Veterinary Group performing referral orthopaedic and advanced soft tissue surgeries in small animals, mainly dogs and cats.

Can you describe what your general day to day looks like?

I start my day by checking the dogs and cats who have stayed overnight in the hospital following surgery. I work with an incredible team of veterinary nurses who will already have administered medication and tended to the patients, so I usually only need to perform a quick assessment check. I then admit all my surgical patients for the day and spend time with the owners explaining the procedure and aftercare involved. Minor procedures such as x-rays and bandage changes are usually admitted by the nurses. Once all the patients are admitted I will begin with the first surgery.
My surgical list can vary greatly, however examples of surgeries are knee surgeries, fractures, joint dislocations, airway surgeries and spinal surgeries. My day is usually quite busy so apart from a quick lunch, I am kept going until early evening.
As well as performing the surgeries and minor procedures, I need to make a hospital plan with the nurses, organise medication for the patients, contact owners with updates and write up clinical notes and discharge instructions. In the evenings I will usually see appointments. These appointments involve check-up appointments on post-surgical patients, lameness consultations and pre-surgery consultations with owners. My day is often not finished there as I provide a second opinion service on cases for the other vets so I usually have quite a few emails to answer.

How did you decide on this type of career?

I always had a passion for animals and during my Transition Year in school, I did work experience in a veterinary practice. I knew immediately that veterinary medicine was what I wanted to do as a career. Initially, I thought that I would pursue large animal veterinary work however once I qualified I realised that I enjoyed small animal surgery the most. After 8 years of working in small animal and equine practices, I decided to specialise in small animals and my surgical skills grew from there. I then went on to do further qualifications in small animal medicine and small animal advanced surgeries to gain my current position as a referral surgeon.

What course did you study in college?

I did a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree course with University College Dublin to qualify as a veterinary surgeon.

What advice would you give to a student looking to get into your line of work?

If you are interested in becoming a vet it’s worth spending some time in a veterinary clinic or out with a vet on calls to develop a true idea of what the career entails. Vets work long hours and there is a huge amount of academic study and hard work involved so it is important to know the career is right for you. Even if you think you want to specialise in a particular area I recommend working as a general veterinary practitioner after you qualify, as veterinary medicine is a wonderful profession with a massive amount of diverse opportunity so it’s worth getting a broad experience before deciding which path to venture down. Good luck!

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Check out more job posts here.

This post was originally published February 2020